President Shimon Peres denied on Friday recent media reports that he is planning to end his term early and run in the next Knesset elections as head of Israel’s center-left bloc.
This week it was reported that former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni has been pressuring Shimon Peres to head a center-left Knesset list in the coming election. She reportedly told the 89-year-old president that she would support him if he chooses to run as his number two.
Peres has also been under pressure by other politicians to run. It has been suggested in previous weeks that Peres might be the only candidate who can unite the fragmented center-left bloc and beat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the January elections.
However, on Friday morning as he was making his way en route from Moscow back to Israel, Peres denied the reports about his political intentions and said he intends to complete his term as president in one year and 10 months.
President Peres rejected any idea of returning to the Knesset and said, “All the reports are pure speculation.”
On Thursday, opposition head MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) hinted at an impending center-left political union to match the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu merger on the political right. Mofaz told an interviewer at Gordon College in Haifa to expect political change.
“Things will happen in the next two and a half months,” he said. “These are things that aren’t ready yet.”
“The map is going to change,” he added. “It will happen very quickly, close to the time of elections.”
Mofaz was asked if he has considered the possibility that if a left-wing political merger occurs, he may not stand at the head of the new party. Polls show that Kadima, the largest party in the current Knesset, may not make it into the next Knesset.
“I take everything into account,” Mofaz replied.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)