The Labor party has released the results of its primary elections. Current MKs Yitzchak Herzog, former head of the Histadrut Labor Union and ousted Labor party head Amir Peretz - and longtime Labor activist and MK Eitan Cabel took the second, third and fourth slots, respectively.
Party head MK Shelly Yechimovich, a former radio commentator, whose emphasis is on social issues, took the top slot in an earlier round of voting. In what was viewed as a power struggle with Peretz, more of Yechimovich's candidates made it to spots that project having enough votes to be elected.
After Cabel came Merav Michaeli, an outspoken feminist television personality and Haaretz columnist. Michaeli has said that her goal in Knesset will be to fight “for equality, for the empowerment of women and other disadvantaged sectors.”
Veteran Labor MK Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer took sixth place on the list. Younger tent protest activists Stav Shapir and Itzik Shmuli were elected within the top 15 spots, just ahead of former Kadima MK Nachman Shai.
With polls indicating that Labor will receive about 20 seats in the January voting, Knesset member Dan Ben-Simon appears on his way out.
One of the contenders was Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer. Peace Now, once more of a mainstream Left-wing group, has been increasingly extremist in recent years. Oppenheimer did not find support for his views among Labor voters, who put him in the 28th slot, making him highly unlikely to win a Knesset seat.
Chili Tropper, the son of Rabbi Dr. Daniel Tropper, who ran the Bayit Yehudi primaries, also did not place high enough to expect to enter the Knesset, so there is no religious candidate on the list.
Fifty-eight percent of eligible voters took part in the elections. The results were not published until Friday mid-morning due to what Labor party officials termed extremely careful counting.
The process of voting and vote-counting was partially computerized. The party delayed a move to full computerized voting after witnessing the Likud party’s embarrassment as repeated computer failures delayed voting.
Two incidents disturbed voting: in Kiryat Gat voting was shut down when a private investigator hired by the party found that empty polling forms had been removed from the voting area, and in Beit Shemesh voting stopped when the head of the polling station was hit by an activist.