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Israel's New Labor Party Chief Threatens Early Elections


The new leader of Israel's main opposition Labor Party is threatening to back a plan to topple Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government and force early elections.

Amir Peretz says he wants to meet with Mr. Sharon by Wednesday when a bill will be introduced by a smaller opposition party, National Religious Party, calling for parliament to be dissolved. Mr. Peretz says he will back the measure if he does not meet with Mr. Sharon before then. Mr. Peretz made the comments after the prime minister postponed a meeting planned for Sunday.

Israel is not scheduled to hold parliamentary elections until next November, but Mr. Peretz is proposing they be held by March.

He defeated Shimon Peres for the Labor Party leadership in elections Thursday, vowing to pull the party from Mr. Sharon's fragile coalition government.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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