Report Weizman Intends to Establish New Centrist Party to Participate in the Next Elections

Former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, who quit Premier Menachem Begin’s government in 1980, reportedly intends to establish a new centrist political party to participate in the next Knesset elections.

Weizman, who has kept himself out of the political scene in Israel for the past two years, had no comment on the report. But Dror Seigerman, a Knesset member of the Liberal Party wing of Likud, said the founding convention of the new party would be held next month. Seigerman and former Energy Minister Yitzhak Berman, also of the Liberal Party, have been mentioned frequently in connection with rumors of a new party headed by Weizman.

According to the latest report, Weizman disclosed his political plans to President Luis Alberto Monge of Costa Rica while on a recent business trip to that country. That information was disclosed by David Turgeman, Israel’s Ambassador to Costa Rica, who, at Weizman’s insistence, was present at the meeting initiated by Monge.

Turgeman said Weizman told the Costa Rican President that if general elections are held next year he would form a new party. He said he could not accept the political and social concepts of Labor Party leader Shimon Peres and that Peres has made and is still making serious mistakes which play into Begin’s hands.

Weizman, who as Defense Minister played a major role in the Camp David meetings of September 1978 and in the subsequent negotiation of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, left Begin’s Cabinet because of serious policy differences with the Premier.

According to sources here, a new political party headed by Weizman could constitute the balance of power in the next Knesset elections. While it would hardly be welcomed by Likud, it could also rob Labor of votes in the manner of Yigael Yadin’s Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) which won 15 seats in the 1977 elections, contributing to Labor’s defeat by Likud.

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