The Israeli Labor party will hold a second round of its leadership election on Monday, July 12th as no candidate reached the 40 percent threshold to claim outright victory in Tuesday’s election.
Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz MK came first with 32.5 percent of the votes, followed by Avi Gabbay in second place with 27 percent. The current Labour leader, Isaac Herzog, came third with 16.7 percent and will end his four year tenure as chairman of the party.
Erel Margalit MK came fourth with 16.1 percent and Omer Bar-lev MK came fifth with 6.9 percent. In total 30,998 votes were cast on a 59 percent voter turnout, a slight rise on the 52 percent that voted in 2013.
After the results were announced, Amir Peretz thanked his supporters, “I am grateful for the trust that has been placed in me and for the huge support that I received the whole way that brought me to first place in the primaries.”
Avi Gabbay, former Environmental Protection Minister who was appointed as an external candidate by Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon, said, “I want to thank my friends in the Labour party, who accepted me with the warmest embrace possible. Over the last six months, I’ve seen that many found my being new difficult, but you’ve proven that you can focus on what matters and know how to accept someone new. You’ve proven this is an open party.”
He added, “We’re not a members’ club and not the Tel Aviv party. We successfully passed the first hurdle, but the hardest one is yet to come. We need you with us next week, as well, for without that we would have only done half the job.”
He vowed to ensure Labour is able to form a governing coalition in Israel, “not join a coalition” — a reference to last year’s intermittent coalition contacts between Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After learning the result, Herzog issued a statement congratulating Gabbay and Peretz and accepting his defeat. “The members of the Labour party have spoken. I respect their decision,” Herzog said.
[Photo: BICOM ]