Ehud Barak signaled that he would like to join the Israeli government. The former prime minister, who is bidding for the Labor Party leadership, broke months of media silence Tuesday with a news conference in which he staked out his positions ahead of the party’s May 28 primary. Barak said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should “draw conclusions” from his faulty handling of last year’s Lebanon war and consider resigning. If Olmert does not resign, Barak said that Labor, the biggest partner to Olmert’s Kadima Party in the coalition government, should push for early elections. But Barak also was conciliatory, saying that if he topples Defense Minister Amir Peretz in the Labor primary he would be willing to sit in a “transitional” government under Olmert. Political pundits said Barak was attempting to straddle the fence, knowing that many Labor voters dislike Olmert but don’t want the party to quit the coalition. Barak is a frontrunner in the Labor race along with retired admiral Ami Ayalon, who called for Olmert’s immediate resignation after a commission of inquiry last week censured him over the Lebanon war.
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