MK Yitzchak Herzog Wins Labor Party Elections
MK Yitzchak Herzog has won the Labor primaries Friday morning, winning by a 16% margin.
The 125 polls which allowed Labor members to choose between current Labor party leader MK Shelly Yechimovich and Herzog closed at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. The party said 52.73 percent of its eligible voters took part in the balloting. Both the headquarters of Yechimovich and Herzog predicted as polls closed that, due to the relatively low voter turnout, the race would be decided by a small margin.
At Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv, a journalists' hub, Labor supporters for both sides gathered throughout Thursday and Friday, in eager anticipation of the results. At the beginning of the night, Yechimovich was in the led by a few percentage points, but two hours later Herzog began to lead - eventually winning by a huge margin of 3,000 votes (16%).
Nana reports more exact results, detailing that while Herzog garnered over 58% of the vote in the final ballot tallies, only 41% of supporters voted for Yechimovich. While only 70% of the votes have been counted, Yechimovich has already declared Herzog the definitive winner.
In a congratulatory call to Herzog, Yechimovich reportedly stated that she respected the democratic process in the party elections and that the election was a fair vote. She then urged him to "work together" to provide Israel with an alternative to the leadership of current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The two have already scheduled meetings to discuss how the change will affect the advancement of the Labor party in the current government.
Reports differ regarding whether or not Herzog will push Labor away from the Opposition and into the mainstream government. While some Israeli news media like Nana are reporting that he heavily supports joining the current coalition, Herzog recently told Army Radio that this is a "spin" and that he only wishes to replace the current government - not join it.
Mk Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) has also reportedly called Herzog this morning, urging him to stay in the Opposition and "not to join Netanyahu's coalition."