Labor Party Nominates Barlev to Manage Party’s Election Campaign

The Labor Party Bureau has nominated Minister of Commerce and Industry Haim Barlev to manage the party’s election campaign. His appointment to the post appears virtually assured since the candidacy of Yosef Almogi was dropped.

Far less certain is the future leadership of the Labor Party in view of the looming battle between Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres to head the party’s list on election day. The party hopes to avoid a public struggle during the election campaign which could cost it precious votes. One idea that appeared to be gaining support in party circles today is to postpone the selection of a Premier until after the May elections, assuming that Labor is victorious at the polls.

The party expects to be called on by President Ephraim Katzir to continue as the caretaker government until elections. In that case, it would not be headed by one person but by a leadership group that would include Rabin. Peres and possibly former Premier Golda Meir although she has given no indication that she would run for election to the Knesset from which she retired several years ago.

Such an arrangement would have to take effect immediately because of expected opposition in the Labor Party’s outgoing Central Committee when Labor holds its convention Jan. 31. The new Central Committee elected at that time would be able to change any decision taken now.

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