Middle East

Ex-Israeli prime minister Barak announces election run

Former prime minister Ehud Barak announced on Wednesday a return to politics as the leader of a new party in Israels coming national election, saying it was time to end Benjamin Netanyahus “corrupt leadership”.

The legislature dissolved itself last month and scheduled an election after Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud, failed to form a governing coalition following a ballot in April in which no single party won a parliamentary majority.

Political commentators said a comeback for Barak, who once led the left-wing Labor Party, could fragment Israels center-left and harm the chances of Netanyahus strongest challenger, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, unseating him in the Sept. 17 poll.

“We came here today to comment on what is going on around us and announce the establishment of a new party,” Barak, 77, told a news conference. He did not say what it would be called and hinted at a possible alliance with centrist and left-wing parties to defeat Likud.

“This is not time to be on the fence… Netanyahus regime, with its radical messianic zealots and its corrupt leadership, must be toppled,” Barak said, in a reference to the prime ministers far-right religious allies.

In office for the past decade, Netanyahu faces a pre-trial hearing in October with Israels attorney-general, who has announced his intention to indict him on fraud and bribery charges stemming from three corruption investigations.

Netanyahu, 69, had denied any wrongdoing and says he is a victim of a political witch-hunt.

“Bibi, the time has come – your last chance to go home of your own free will,” Barak said at the news conference, using Netanyahus nickname in an apparent suggestion that he step down.

An opinion poll broadcast on Channel 12 TV after Baraks announcement forecast his party would win six of parliaments 120 seats.

A former armed forces chief and Israels most decorated soldier, Barak was prime minister from 1999 to Read More – Source

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