In a surprise victory in the recent preliminary elections for the Labor Party, Histadrut Chairman Amir Peretz defeated Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Peretz is now expected to meet Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to determine a date for the elections. Sharon has stated that he wants to hold elections as early as possible, either late February or early March. Sharon said he hopes the two will come to an agreement as they meet next Monday. This meeting is to prevent the extension of an already failing government, with rebellion in the Likud, and Peretz's promise to break up the national unity government. Sharon is ready for his race against Peretz as he plans on declaring a "war on poverty," which he will state at the Prime Minister's Conference for Exports and International Cooperation in Tel Aviv. Peretz on the other hand has already begun a string of promises to the public. There is talk of whether or not Peres will leave the Labor Party and form a new party with PM Sharon.
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