Surprising even Labor Party officials, there was a high turnout in the party's primary election to choose its candidates for the Knesset election on April 9. 56.3% of the party's fifty-nine thousand registered members voted at 84 ballots around Israel.
Itzik Shmuli took number one spot. He is followed in the first ten places by Stav Shaffir, Shelly Yachimovich, Amir Peretz, Merav Michaeli, Omer Bar-Lev, Revital Swid, Yair (Yaya) Fink, Michal Biran, and Gavri Bargil. Eitan Cabel, a veteran Labor Knesset member who has been a vocal critic of party leader Avi Gabbay, was pushed down to twelfth position, which, according to the party's current showing in the opinion polls, is a long way from giving him a realistic chance of returning to the Knesset.
The party chairman is entitled to place his own candidates at number 2 and number 10 on Labor's slate, while the number 11 position is reserved for party secretary Eran Hermoni. The candidates chosen by the party membership yesterday will move down the list accordingly.
Asked by "Globes" whether the list was a personal success for him, Gabbay answered, "The list is a success for Labor. A slate with Shelly, Amir, Itzik, Stav and the others is excellent representation for the country's citizens."
At a closing event for the primaries in Tel Aviv, Gabbay said, "Today, we saw the Labor Party at its glorious best. All those who have rushed to eulogize the party, you should take it easy, we are still strong. We are eager for battle to change the face of the country. The polls are not good at the moment and we don't dismiss that lightly, but with 59 days to the election, we have a high participation rate, and that's a vote of confidence in us. We go out today with a following wind, and we shall change the trend and rise in the polls."
Meanwhile, the results of the Likud party primaries held on February 5 will be re-input at the request of the party's internal auditor, who found irregularities in the recorded vote tally.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 12, 2019
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