Nitzan Horowitz
Nitzan HorowitzMiri Shimonovitch

Health Minister and Meretz party chairman Nitzan Horowitz will not seek reelection as chief of the Meretz faction, Horowitz announced Tuesday afternoon.

Horowitz, who has headed the far-left party since June 2019, said that he will not run in Meretz’s leadership election ahead of the November Knesset election.

Despite withdrawing from the leadership race, Horowitz said Tuesday that he will remain on the party’s Knesset slate for the upcoming election.

With Horowitz’s departure from the leadership race, Deputy Economics Minister Yair Golan is now the sole candidate for leader of the Meretz party.

In a letter to party activists, Horowitz urged additional candidates to join the race, and vowed to back whoever is elected party chair.

Meretz activists have urged former party chairwoman Zahava Galon to run in the leadership election. Should she decline to run, Tamar Zandberg has been floated as a possible challenger to Golan.

In his letter to Meretz activists, Horowitz touted his record as Health Minister, highlighting steps liberalizing abortion regulations, removing restrictions on blood donations by homosexuals, and permitting surrogacy for gay men.

Amid polls showing Meretz either below the minimum threshold or barely crossing it, Horowitz declared that the party remains “essential for a strong Left in the next coalition.”