INTRODUCTION: Defence Minister, Shimon Peres, is the new leader of Israel's Labour Party, replacing outgoing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
INTRODUCTION: Defence Minister, Shimon Peres, is the new leader of Israel's Labour Party, replacing outgoing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Peres won an overwhelming majority at a meeting of the 815 member Labour party central committee. He was the sole candidate
SYNOPSIS: Peres, 53, emerged triumphant from the meeting. If the scandal-plagued Labour party win Israel's general election on May 17, he will be the country's new prime minister. Mr. Peres became the sole candidate for the position after talks with the other contender, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, who withdrew from the ballot to prevent a potentially damaging clash within the party. Peres, who rose in Israeli politics in the shadow of flamboyant war hero Moshe Dayan, is regarded as a "hawk" in the Arab-Israeli dispute.
Mr. Rabin, who shocked the country on Thursday (7 April) with his resignation following disclosures of an illegal bank account in the United States, is still looking for a way to relinquish his premier's functions. He had been heading a caretaker government since December, and by law is prevented form resigning until elections. His popularity has soared in the past few days, and he has received sackloads of mail asking him to reconsider his decision.