|Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem|
Labor's 60,000 members set to vote in party primary
By LAHAV HARKOV
Party moves to semi-computerized primary after Likud computers crash; Yacimovich hopes results don't pull Labor too far left.
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich expressed concerns over a list that is “too
left-wing,” as the party prepared for Thursday’s primary.
members will vote in 140 booths in 68 locations from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday. Only those who joined the party at least six months ago are eligible
to participate in the primary.
Yacimovich said she hopes that the results
of the primary do not pull the party too far to the left, following weeks in
which she had labeled Labor as “centrist.”“I want a balanced list,” she told
activists on Tuesday night.
“In an absurd way, I have a challenge that is
similar to that of [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu,” Yacimovich said,
referring to the outcome of the Likud primary.
“He also doesn’t want some
people in his party.”
The Labor leader said voters should not think of
right and left on diplomatic and security matters when they vote, pointing out
that Netanyahu behaved similarly to other prime ministers in Operation Pillar of
Defense, but should think about socioeconomic issues.
“For once, break
the voting pattern of voting on borders, and vote on what happens within the
borders,” Yacimovich stated.
In the weeks after the election was called,
Yacimovich held press conferences with primary candidates she prefers, like her
former aide Michal Biran, former National Union of Israeli Students chairman
Itzik Shmuly and religious-Zionist educator Chili Tropper, but has avoided
contact and public appearances with those further to the left, such as Peace Now
secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer and feminist columnist Merav
While some of Yacimovich’s star candidates are expected to do
well in the primary, others have made alliances to boost their position in the
Former Labor leader Amir Peretz recently reconciled with Histadrut
chairman Ofer Eini after years of disputes; both are former Yacimovich allies
whose relationship with her soured. Peretz also received a boost in popularity
from Operation Pillar of Defense, as he pushed the Iron Dome missile defense
system ahead when he was defense minister, and supports MKs Eitan Cabel, Daniel
Ben-Simon and Ghaleb Majadle.
Also this week, Labor made several changes
to its primary system after observing trends in the Likud vote on Sunday and
The primary will be semi-computerized, after Likud’s digital
election system crashed. Labor members will vote on paper forms, which will be
scanned and counted by computer.
Results are expected to come in early
This is not the first time Labor has dealt with computer
troubles. In 2008, the party postponed its primary by eight days, after the
computers used for the vote did not work properly.
Labor also decided
this week not to publicize results in different regions, minimizing the
influence of pressure groups, because they will not be able to check whether
their members voted for the candidates they support.
In addition, the
voting will be by name, not numerical, in an attempt to ensure party members
know the candidates they are electing and are not voting from a list prepared by
“We worked hard and with great responsibility and reached
the best decision, which allows for an organized, democratic and free election,”
Labor secretary-general Hilik Bar said.
“The party will take every step
to have a clean vote.”