Israel's left-wing parties merge ahead of election

Israel's left-wing parties merge ahead of election

Israel’s left-wing parties said they would join forces ahead of a March 2 national election to regain dwindling influence in parliament.

Labour, which dominated Israeli politics for decades and spearheaded peace efforts with the Palestinians, will join with the veteran party Meretz after seeing their combined seats in the 120-seat Knesset diminish from 29 to 11 after two inconclusive elections this year.

Many of their voters have defected to the upstart centrist party Blue and White, led by former general Benny Gantz which is the main challenger to Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, Reuters reported.

The new left-wing alliance will be headed by Labour’s Amir Peretz, a former defence minister who called the merger “a partnership of change and hope”. Under leaders like Yitzhak Rabin, Labour was a driving force in Israel’s efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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