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Shahal Makes Bid to Head Labor

The two-man fight for leadership of the troubled Labor Party became a three-man contest Sunday, when former Energy Minister Moshe Shahal declared his candidacy for the office of party chairman and possible prime minister, in opposition to incumbent Shimon Peres and challenger Yitzhak Rabin.

Shahal said he would emphasize social issues, such as jobs and housing for new immigrants and the established population, in order to underline Labor’s differences from the right-wing Likud.

Although the Labor Party has long fretted over the lack of “young blood” in its top leadership, Shahal, 56, is the first Laborite to challenge Peres and Rabin.

He is 10 years Peres’ junior and 12 years younger than Rabin, which puts him in the middle generation of aspiring politicians.

Shahal denied charges by Rabin supporters that his candidacy is a ploy to postpone a showdown between Peres and Rabin.