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Newly formed party of former Israeli FM gets boost with defector who joins after leaving Labor

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has added a big name to her new political party after a former defense minister defected from the Labor Party to join it.

Amir Peretz, a onetime labor Party chairman, announced at a news conference on Thursday that he was moving over to Livni's party, The Movement, ahead of Jan. 22 parliamentary elections. Her party's platform is distinctive for focusing on peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Peretz's move is unlikely to improve the prospects of the center-left bloc. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hawkish allies are expected to form the next government.

Peretz left Labor after unsuccessfully urging its current leader, Shelly Yachimovich, to declare she wouldn't join a Netanyahu-led government.

Peretz served as defense minister during Israel's 2006 war against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.