Peres is Israel's only Labor opponent to Shamir
Two Labor Party stalwarts decided Friday not to seek the party's leadership, leaving former Defense Minister Shimon Peres as the leading opposition politician in the fight to unseat Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
Mr. Shamir, who agreed with Peres earlier this week that national elections would be held in July, faced a challenge for the leadership of his own Herut Party from controversial former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.
Herut is the main party in the ruling Likud bloc, a coalition of conservative parties.
On Friday Mr. Peres became virtually assured of leading the Labor Party in the coming electoral battle, when former President Yitzhak Navon and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin decided not to run.