Center-left Labor-Gesher Chairman Amir Peretz and the left-wing Meretz's leader Nitzan Horowitz declared officially on Monday that their parties are merging ahead of Israel's March 2 election and will run on a joint list.
"Those who want to vote for the right can vote for Likud or Kahol Lavan," Horowitz said in an apparent jab at Benny Gantz's party, which the former Israeli army chief has been labeling as center-right since the previous election campaign. "Those who want to want left have one choice," he added.
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Peretz, whose party joined forces with Orli Levi-Abkesais' Gesher party before the September election, said that "today we determine who will lead the policy of the next government. In the previous elections we did a brave merger between Labor and Gesher, between Orli Levi and myself. I would like to say that with every passing day the connection between Orli and myself is strengthening, and all the attempts to weaken in have not bore fruit."
"We are treating voters respectfully, we aren't dismissive of the democratic process," Peretz added. "Every commitment we make in the election campaign is set in stone."
"It's an important and critical move on the way to finish the rule of the indicted man from Balfour Street," he continued, referring to the criminal charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that were announced against Netanyahu in November.
"True, not everyone is represented in the first slots and there are some personal disappointments," the Meretz chairman said, possibly alluding to the removal of former Labor party member Stav Shaffir who joined his party's Democratic Union alliance before the April election. "The way to resolve this is through Knesset seats. Now it's up to the voters, not just up to us."
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Labor-Gesher and Meretz announced that they would run together in the March 2 election earlier Monday, and that their slate would be led by Peretz with Levi-Abekasis in the second spot on the roster.
Horowitz will be placed third on the joint ticket, lawmakers Tamar Zandberg and Itzik Shmuli fourth and fifth respectively. Stav Shaffir won't be included in the slate.
Over the weekend Meretz offered Shaffir the fifth slot on the slate, placing her between the fifth and tenth spots on the slate. Meretz sources said it hasn't been officially decided not to include Shaffir, but adding that chances that she would join are slim.
In the September election Meretz, Shaffir, Ehud Barak and former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan ran together under the Democratic Union slate, which dissolved after the previous election. It received five seats.