Labor to choose new leader in nationwide primary vote

65,000 Labor party members to head to the polls Tuesday to choose new party chair, after incumbent Avi Gabbay dropped out of race.

David Rosenberg,

Amir Peretz (left) and Itzik Shmuli (right)
Amir Peretz (left) and Itzik Shmuli (right)
Tomer Neuberg, Flash90

The Israeli Labor party is set to hold its national leadership primary election Tuesday, in a vote that will determine the new party chairman and successor to incumbent leader, Avi Gabbay.

Roughly 65,000 party members across the country are eligible to vote in the Labor leadership vote, which will take place from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday at 105 voting stations around the country.

Party members voting in the leadership race will choose from three candidates vying for control of Labor: former Defense Minister MK Amir Peretz, who led the party from 2005 to 2007; MK Stav Shaffir, a social activist-turned-lawmaker who in 2013 became the youngest woman ever elected to the Knesset; and MK Itzik Shmuli, a former social activist who, like Shaffir, entered politics after gaining attention during the 2011 ‘social justice’ protests.

Polls currently show Peretz leading the race with roughly 40%. If Peretz fails to top 40%, he will face off against the runner-up in a second round of voting.

The candidate who wins Tuesday’s primary vote will take control of Labor which, after the April 9th election, finds itself at its lowest point in history, with just six seats.

Recent polls show the party struggling to cross the electoral threshold in the September 17th election, with some party members suggesting Labor merge with the far-left Meretz faction to ensure both lists make it into the 22nd Knesset.

Incumbent Labor chief Avi Gabbay dropped out of the leadership race last month, citing the party’s poor showing in this year’s election.




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