Newcomers win majority of seats at Israeli Labor Party primary elections

Newcomers win majority of seats at Israeli Labor Party primary elections
# 30 November 2012 18:31 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The center-left Labor Party, which is expected to be the second largest in Israel's next Knesset (parliament), has elected Friday new blood into its lines prior to the Jan. 22 elections, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Although the second and third places in the list, following Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, went to political veterans Yitzhak Herzog and Amir Peretz, many in the party's top 20 are new faces that only joined the party in recent weeks.

Both Yachimovich and Peretz, long-time rivals, had their favorites which they pushed onto the list. Following the results, Yachimovich said at the party's headquarters that she "couldn't have dreamed of a better list."

One of the biggest surprises is Merav Michaeli, a feminist columnist who was supported by Peretz and got the fifth spot at the party's list.

Herzog told the Walla news website that he is very happy about the list which "accurately reflects the interaction between the veteran politicians and the newcomers."

He added that he still hopes that Tzipi Livni, who announced Tuesday she is running for a spot in the next parliament with a new center-left movement, would join forces with the Labor Party and together they could create an alternative for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Meanwhile, Hillik Bar, general secretary of the Labor Party, told Xinhua on Friday that the primary elections were conducted smoothly and without any errors.

"Yesterday was a party of democracy; we've built up this party again from scratch. Starting from now we're all united in our fight against the right-wing Likud in an attempt to replace the government," Bar said.

On Thursday, about 58 percent of the 63,000 party members voted in 140 voting booths in 68 localities, choosing between 83 possible candidates.

According to recent polls, the labor party is expected to achieve between 19 and 24 seats in the next Knesset. It is also shown that, by joining forces, Livni and Yachimovich can substantially increase the center-left bloc.