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Shimon Peres in new party talks

    President Shimon Peres is holding closed talks on the foundation of a new political party that will launch after his presidential term ends next year.

    The new party is expected to promote a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians and field a Knesset list that includes former security chiefs.

    Mr Peres’s seven-year term will end in eight months and, despite turning 90 earlier this year, many in Israel’s political establishment expect the president to remain on the scene.

    Channel One reported over the weekend that the new party will include the former Mossad and Shin Bet chiefs Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, and the previous IDF chief of staff, Gaby Ashkenazi.

    It is not clear whether Mr Peres will actually run in the next elections — expected to take place in 2017, when he is 93 — but the emerging plan is that he will lend his prestige to the new party.

    Not everyone believes that Mr Peres is actually planning to launch a new party and there are rumours that the message is being put out to create pressure on the Knesset to pass a new law extending his presidential term.

    The president’s office responded saying that “the president has clarified unequivocally that the decision regarding his future public activity will be made only after he ends his term as President of Israel in July 2014”.

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