MK Tamar Zandberg
MK Tamar Zandberg Flash 90

MK Michal Rozin announced on Thursday that she supports fellow MK Tamar Zandberg in her bid to head the Meretz party.

At the WIZO event marking Women's Day, Rozin said that "International Women's Day is definitely the right day to declare that I support my friend, MK Tamar Zandberg, in the elections for the leadership of Meretz.

"I am proud to be an elected official on behalf of a party that throughout its history leads an uncompromising ideological worldview and has equal representation for women," added Rozin, pointing out the Meretz requires an equal amount of men and women on its Knesset list.

Zandberg thanked Zandberg, saying that she was proud to be "supported by one of the greatest feminists in the Knesset, a highly accomplished fighter for women's rights and a personal friend - Michal Rozin."

"Meretz has always led not only in women's leadership and in women's representation, but in leading a feminist feminist agenda," added Zandberg.

On March 22, Meretz will hold direct primary elections for both party chair and the faction's Knesset slate for the next election.

The party had previously selected its Knesset list through a complicated two-tiered system, in which party members would elect representatives who would decide the Knesset list amongst themselves. This system had come under attack in recent years by party members, who pointed to its non-transparent internal elections as the reason for Meretz's poor electoral showing.

Seven candidates currently remain in the race: MK Tamar Zandberg, party activist Avi Dabush, former Peace Now secretary Avi Buskila, and LGBT activist Imre Kalman. Other candidates are David Kashani, Ofir Paz, and David Naveh.

Observers say that Zandberg is the leading candidate after MK Ilan Gilon and party chief and former MK Zahava Gal-On had dropped out of the race in late February.

Once a major force in Israeli politics with a dozen seats in the Knesset and power ministerial positions including the Education Ministry and Communications Ministry portfolios, since the 1990s Meretz has declined to just five seats and has not been a member of any government since 2001.

Meretz, which was formed in 1992, was the political union of the Ratz: Movement for Civil Rights and Peace party - a small, radical-left faction led by Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid – with the secularist Shinui party and Mapam, one of the two Labor factions in the early years of the state before its merger with Mapai. Shinui broke away in 1997, reestablishing itself as an independent party.