The Labor Party will hold a convention in Tel Aviv on Sunday to begin the process of electing new institutions for the party.

The list of items on the meeting’s agenda appears at first glance to be technical and procedural. But opponents of Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich said they amount to nothing less than her initiating a “hostile takeover” of the party.

For instance, Yechimovich wants to add loyalists to the party’s supreme internal court and enable some new Labor central committee members to be chosen by the secretariat of Labor’s executive committee, which is made up entirely of Yechimovich allies.

The convention will set the amount of central committee members each Labor branch receives in part by how many voters each branch brought to the polls in the last general election. But loyalists of MK Amir Peretz say it is unfair to go by the 2009 election, a time when the party was led by Ehud Barak, who scared away many longtime Labor voters as well as voters in the periphery of the country.

Peretz’s allies said the 2006 election when Labor was led by Peretz should be used instead, but Yechimovich rejected that idea.

“She is taking over the party,” a source close to Peretz said. “She is trying to make it into the Shelly party and it’s too bad. There needs to be a variety of people, not just her yes-men. We want there to be real democracy in the party.”

Veteran members of the party have warned that Yechimovich has been quietly forcing them out of the leadership of branches across the country.

They said she formed teams of volunteers in each city that she will later use to take over branches from their longtime members.

A source close to Yechimovich called the allegations nonsense. The source said Labor’s bylaws require an election to be held for new institutions, but the elections have been repeatedly delayed so none have been held in eight years.

“Labor needs elections like [people need] oxygen to breathe,” a Yechimovich loyalist said. “Shelly brought so many people to the party who have been working very hard, and it’s time to officially make them part of our institutions.”

The Labor party said in response that its elections will be held according to the party constitution which requires a vote every four years.

“These elections reflect the democratic spirit according to which Labor operates and will enable thousands of Labor members to have influence and advance the party,” it said in a released statement.

“The convention will be run fairly by former justice minister David Liba’i with full transparency.”

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger