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Israel's Labor Party postpones primaries

June 26, 2005 at 4:46 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, June 26 (UPI) -- Israel's Labor Party has postponed its elections without setting a new date following signs that its voters' list has been inflated.

Census takers apparently registered people without obtaining their permission. Some people reportedly belonged to another party, and names of sick and dead people also appeared.

Party Secretary General Eitan Cabel's suggested at Labor's convention Sunday that primary elections for the party's leadership be postponed indefinitely. Delegates approved the proposal by a majority of 60 percent against 40.

A preliminary debate on delaying the primaries came to an abrupt end when clashes broke out and a former Knesset member, Addisu Messeleh, tried to assault former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the Haaretz newspaper reported. Barak's bodyguards stopped him.

Cabel then called for a vote.

The postponement is considered a defeat for Labor Federation Chairman and party leadership candidate Amir Peretz, who suggested delaying the primaries by three weeks. The four other candidates -- Barak; Labor Chairman and Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres; and ministers Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Matan Vilnai -- supported the postponement, Haaretz said.

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