Former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday welcomed the expected union between the Labor and Meretz parties, but expressed concern over the fact that Green Movement chairwoman Stav Shaffir was left out of the alliance.
"Congratulations to [Labor chairman] Amir Peretz and [Meretz chairman] Nitzan Horowitz for making the right decision. Joining hands is essential. Without the unification, the vote is lost,” said Barak.
“Pushing out the talented, effective Stav Shaffir who broadcasts leadership - this is a serious mistake that can and must be corrected over the next two days. There are tens of thousands of voters who are worried about that today,” Barak claimed.
Earlier on Sunday, Peretz convened the leadership of the Labor Party and sought permission to open negotiations on a technical union with Meretz. He was later scheduled to meet with Horowitz.
MK Orly Levy-Abekasis, head of the Gesher party who is the daughter of former Likud minister David Levy, gave a green light to an alliance between the Labor-Gesher and Meretz parties, despite the differences between her views and those of Meretz on political and security issues.
"We are giving the opportunity to hold discussions so that we are responsible and will not be blamed if one party or another fails to pass the electoral threshold, even though I believe both parties would have passed the threshold if they ran separately," she clarified.
Shaffir, meanwhile, appears poised to run independently with the Green Movement after negotiations to keep her on the Meretz slate failed.
Shaffir had recently been in conflict with Knesset members from Meretz who were planning to place her in a lower spot on the party’s slate for the March election.
She strongly attacked the initiative to move her down from the number two spot on the slate and called for the holding of open primaries under a united party.
Other reports indicated that Shaffir had demanded to be appointed minister if the Democratic Union joins a coalition after the March elections and also demanded to be chairwoman of the party or of a joint list in the coming elections. Shaffir denied those reports.
In her offer, she proposed keeping the agreement as it had been prior to the September 2019 elections, and agreed to give up her demand for the list's second spot as well as her demand to hold primaries.
The Democratic Union was the alliance between Meretz, Barak’s Israel Democratic Party, and Shaffir.
MK Yair Golan, who is serving in the Knesset on behalf of the Israel Democratic Party, last week signed an agreement with Meretz to remain part of the alliance.