Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Season of Mavericks: Peres to Leave Labor and Join Sharon

From the AP:
Elder statesman Shimon Peres has signaled plans to leave the Labor Party on Wednesday after six decades and throw his support behind Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new centrist party.

The move would cap dramatic realignments in Israeli politics over the past month, following the summer pullout from Gaza.

A poll published Wednesday showed Sharon's new party - Kadima - has widened its lead and is now positioned to crush its rivals in March elections.

Peres is expected to return to Israel from Spain on Wednesday and hold a news conference.

Officials close to the longtime Labor leader said Wednesday he will announce he is leaving political life and will no longer be part of any major party. But he is expected to support Sharon in the election and, under an emerging deal, Peres could receive a Cabinet post in the next government if Sharon wins.

Although Peres has been trying to keep his announcement under wraps, he gave broad hints while talking to reporters in Barcelona on Tuesday, saying it was a difficult decision and praising Sharon.

"I shall decide tomorrow night," he said.