Labor Contenders Await Primaries Results

Results of Labor primaries expected at 10:00 a.m. Friday morning. 58% of Labor members voted.

Elad Benari ,

Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich
Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich
Flash 90

Candidates for the Labor party’s Knesset list are waiting with bated breath for the results of the party’s primaries which were held on Thursday.

The vote was somewhat overshadowed by the action in the United Nations General Assembly which overwhelmingly voted in favor of recognizing “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.

Nevertheless, 58% of Labor members took part in the primaries. Results are not expected before 10:00 a.m. Friday morning, as the party learned a lesson from the computer glitches which interfered with the Likud’s primaries and used paper ballots, which were being scanned by computer overnight. This caused a delay in the announcement of the results, which was originally scheduled for 7:00.

The party will announce the results of a vote at a special event in Tel Aviv in the presence of Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich.

The primaries pitted Yechimovich against her bitter rival, former chairman Amir Peretz, as both have been working to promote their favored candidates.

Yechimovich favors candidates such as MK Yitzchak Herzog, who placed first on the party’s Knesset list in the last two elections, as well newcomers such as her former parliamentary assistant Michal Biran, and the former commander of the IDF's Sayeret Matkal, Omer Bar-Lev.

Peretz favors candidates such as Labor’s currently serving MKs Eitan Cabel, Raleb Majadele and Daniel Ben Simon. He is also promoting former Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer and former journalist Merav Michaeli, who have both been identified as hardcore leftists and are undesired by Yechimovich, who is trying to pull her party toward the center, as she recently told Arutz Sheva.

The battle for the top spot on the Knesset list will be between Herzog and Peretz, and a win for the latter will mean a blow for Yechimovich.

Also running for spots on the party’s Knesset list are former student leader Itzik Shmuli as well as Stav Shafir, both of whom were among the leaders of the social protests in the summer of 2011. A third candidate, journalist Mickey Rosenthal, gave the protest enthusiastic coverage. It is believed that all three will achieve realistic spots.

Other contenders include Noam Shalit, father of Gilad Shalit who was released from Hamas captivity last year, as well as two MKs who left the Kadima party, Nachman Shai and Nino Abesadze.

Most polls have shown that Labor will likely be the second largest party in the next Knesset and could win around 20 seats, making the first 20 spots on its list realistic ones. It is expected that unlike the Likud list, which does not include many newcomers, Labor will have some 15 newcomers in realistic spots.