Remarkable comeback

 

Barak, who has also previously served as a chief of staff and defence minister, was on Tuesday elected to head Labour - Olmert's main coalition partner - staging a spectacular comeback to the national political arena after a more then six-year absence.

  

The 65-year-old Barak retired from public life in the wake of the failed Camp David peace talks with the Palestinians in 2000 which led to the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in September.

  

During the Labour vote campaign, Barak had declared his intention to take the defence portfolio from Peretz, who was ousted as Labour leader in a first-round vote on May 28 following criticism of his performance during the Lebanon war last year.

 

Peretz will remain in the government as a minister without  portfolio, the official added.