Da Ha'aretz del 23/11/2005
Originale su http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/649098.html

Ramon quits Labor to join PM, blasts Peretz's inexperience

di Mazal Mualem

Vice Premier Shimon Peres on Wednesday announced he would remain in the Labor Party, ending months of speculation on whether he would join a new centrist party led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Peres made the announcement during a meeting with Labor Chairman Amir Peretz, who dealt a stinging blow to Peres when winning the Labor primaries by a nose. The two discussed ways Peres could continue serving the state, the Labor Party and peace.

Peres said he did not wish to have a spot reserved for him in the party's election list. The two agreed to meet again in the coming days.


Outgoing minister Haim Ramon, quitting Labor Wednesday to join Ariel Sharon's new National Responsibility party, took a parting shot at Labor leader Amir Peretz for inexperience.

Ramon, a lifelong member of Labor and once a leader of an octet of high-profile doves, was a strong supporter of the concept of the political "big bang," in which members of the Labor, Likud and Shinui parties would form a broad centrist party.

Peretz was also a member of the grouping of Labor doves, which included Yossi Beilin and Yael Dayan, who left the party to join Meretz, and former Knesset speaker and close Ramon friend Avraham Burg.

"I've seen prime ministers up close in recent years, among them Rabin, Peres, Barak and Sharon, and I tell you that experience is a central factor in a prime minister's success," Ramon said.

Referring to Ehud Barak (Labor) and Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), both elected to the prime ministership in the 1990s after meteoric rises within their parties, Ramon said:

"It is no coincidence that two prime ministers entirely devoid of experience brought great disasters upon the state of Israel, as everyine knows. To gamble once again on someone inexperienced would be irresponsible."

Trying the soften the blow for a former political ally and potential future coalition partner, Ramon added that "I say this with great admiration for Peretz."

Ramon had held talks on the creation of a new centrist party over the past year with Sharon's son, MK Omri Sharon.

"I am joining Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's party, whose name National Responsibility ... truly reflects the substance of the new party," Ramon told a news conference on Wednesday.

The new party can bring "security, co-existence, social justice," Ramon said. "I am calling for truly stepping up for what one is today, and not what one was at one time."

The election of Amir Peretz as chairman of the Labor Party also hastened Ramon's departure, after the latter strongly supported the candidacy of Shimon Peres in the party's primaries.

On Tuesday, Sharon chalked up one new member, when MK David Tal agreed to join. Tal entered the Knesset two terms ago as a Shas MK, then quit that party and ran in the last elections on Amir Peretz's One Nation list. He then split from One Nation when it voted to merge with Labor, and has since been functioning as an independent.

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