Ehud Barak confirms new party look before elections, denies return of work



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Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak confirmed on Friday long-standing reports that he intends to form a new political party ahead of the Israeli elections of the year.

In an interview with Channel 12, Barak denied he would return to the Labor Party, but said he would consider joining his former party to form an anti-Netanyahu bloc.

"I do not run from within the Labor Party. I have decided to explore the need to organize a party and then I will announce if I am going to run for the next elections. [in September]," he said.

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Last week, Israel's three major news networks reported that Barak was analyzing several possible political figures, including former head of the Hatnua party, Tzipi Livni, former Likud minister Dan Meridor, Adina Bar-Shalom, daughter of the late Shas leader Ovadia Yosef and former deputy chief of staff of the Army, Yair Golan.

Barak declined to confirm who he was talking to, saying he was "talking to everyone to see if I, and people like me, can bring a union of forces in the center-left that will prevent what happened in the last elections." .

I am interested to see if we can assemble a block that can defeat [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. The bloc is the main one, not the party, "he said, adding that center-left parties needed to change their tactics.

He declined to say whether he would insist on leading the bloc.

In the April elections, the Blue-and-White centrist party under former army chief Benny Gantz received the same number of seats in the Knesset as Netanyahu Likud but could not form a coalition.

Netanyahu also failed to rally a majority coalition and dissolved the 120-member Knesset.

Rumors of Barak's intentions to re-enter politics have long been brewing. Despite serving as defense minister in Netanyahu's government between 2009 and 2013 – even breaking the Labor Party in 2011 and forming the brief Independence party to remain in the cabinet – Barak in recent years has become one of Netanyahu's biggest critics.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Defense Minister Ehud Barak attend a news conference at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem on November 21, 2012. (Miriam Alster / FLASH90)

It has been reported previously that Barak sent headquarters to Labor party members seeking his support for him to temporarily lead the party in struggle for a year and see him during the elections.

But Barak said he decided that this was not the right path for him.

"I had more than one offer to head the labor market. I have decided that it is not correct to run for the Labor leader, "he said, adding that he did not want to support his candidate to replace Avi Gabbay, who resigned after leading the historic worst-performing party ever. of only 6 places.

It is not the first time that Barak, 77 years, considers a political return.

The former premier and army chief have tested the waters several times over the years and suggested last December that they would run if a center-left political bloc was formed but ended up missing out on the April elections.

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