Israeli defense minister quits Likud Party
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz quit the Likud Party on Sunday to join the party recently founded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a spokesman for the new Kadima party said.
Sharon left Likud last month to form the Kadima party, a centrist organization with the goal of moving the Middle East peace process forward based on the U.S.-backed road map for peace.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres -- Sharon's political rival -- also has aligned with Kadima. He resigned two weeks ago from the left-leaning Labor Party and endorsed Sharon in the upcoming race for prime minister.
"Kadima is a party today that supports the things that I've supported all my life," Peres, 82, told CNN. "Namely, a solution which is based on a Palestinian state on the side of the Israeli state ... We don't have too much time, and we have to go to work."
Amir Peretz recently defeated Peres, a pillar of Labor for decades, to become party chairman.
Peres will not run for another term in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel's parliament. Israelis will vote March 28 to choose a new Knesset and prime minister.
The vote is expected to pit Sharon as a centrist against Likud hardliners such as Benjamin Netanyahu, who resigned from Sharon's government over the pullout.
CNN's Shira Medding contributed to this report.
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