Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who heads the new Democratic Israel party, met on Wednesday as part of contacts underway to unite the left-wing bloc in advance of the Knesset election on September 17.
Both politicians tweeted afterwards that their talks were conducted in a setting of “mutual respect and a very good atmosphere” and that they agreed to continue the dialogue in the coming days.
Peretz is expected to meet on Thursday with Nitzan Horowitz, the chairman of the left-wing Meretz party. The pair are also to meet separately with former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnuah when she returns to Israel, as part of an effort to get her to sign onto a joint slate.
One senior center-left politician noted that a decision with regard parties running together in the election would have to be made in the next two weeks, in advance of the deadline at the end of the month for parties to register with the Central Elections Committee.
“The schedule is pressing,” he said, because the lists of candidates running with each party for parliament must be submitted by August 1. He also noted that the Labor Party would also require 72 hours notice to summon members to a convention to approve any union or joint slate with another party. In addition, Meretz must give its convention members 48 hours notice for a similar procedure.
“We would need another few days to complete any agreement in writing,” the senior figure said. “All of this is happening under a pressing time frame that requires us to make a decision by the end of the month.”
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He said he doubted any decision would be made in advance of the deadline. “We will wait to see the most current polls before we decide,” he added.
On Monday, Ehud Barak told 90FM radio that he was prepared to run in the No. 2 slot behind Peretz if the parties were to run together.