The chairwoman of the Labor Party, Minister Merav Michaeli, on Thursday evening published an official statement in which she reacted for the first time to the results of the elections.
In the statement, Michaeli blasted the chairman of Yesh Atid and Prime Minister Yair Lapid, blaming him for the left’s election loss.
"There was no reason for Labor or Meretz not to pass [the electoral threshold] - but Yesh Atid worked against us. Lapid's campaign eliminated Meretz and almost eliminated Labor," charged Michaeli.
She claimed that a unification with Meretz would not have helped the situation either. "I was hoping that Meretz would pass the threshold, we were concerned about Meretz and that's why I refused the ‘Gevald campaign’ (a campaign aimed at convincing voters that voting for a certain candidate or party is the only way to avert a certain catastrophe -ed.). Unfortunately, even if we had united it would not have prevented Netanyahu from forming the government. I'm only speaking now because I was waiting for the true results."
She said that she bears responsibility for the failure of her party, which won four seats, but did not offer to resign. "We will investigate and learn from our mistakes, and we will consider moving up the party primaries. The results of the elections are difficult for Israel and for Labor. We lost, but this is really not the end."
Regarding the emerging government, Michaeli said, "We will fight in the opposition against a dark coalition, which has more indictments than women."
Earlier on Thursday evening, the Central Elections Committee submitted its report with the preliminary results of the election. The results will be finalized next week, after recounts of contested ballot boxes are conducted and investigations into any claims of fraud completed.
The results showed that the Meretz Party will not be part of the 25th Knesset, having fallen 4,124 votes shy of the 3.25% minimum threshold required for entry into the Knesset.
After all the votes were counted, the right-wing bloc won 64 seats and the left-Arab camp won 56 seats.
The Likud won 32 seats, Yesh Atid - 24, the Religious Zionist Party - 14, National Unity - 12, Shas - 11, United Torah Judaism - 7, Yisrael Beytenu - 6, Ra'am - 5, Hadash-Ta'al - 5 and the Labor Party with 4 seats.
In addition to Meretz, the Balad Party, which split from Hadash-Ta’al moments before election slates were submitted, will also not be in the next Knesset.