Herzog claims sabotage in Labor Party elections

Approximately 42,000 of 66,310 (63%) eligible voters cast their ballot as former Labor chair issues plea to victor to keep party united.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 12, 2011 22:01
3 minute read.
Labor Party Convenes

Labor 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Labor leadership candidate MK Isaac Herzog filed a complaint on Monday to the Election Committee during voting hours that someone was sending out thousands of text-messages with a statement from him telling Labor Party members they were not eligible to vote.

Herzog himself called the alleged phishing a "dirty trick," while a statement from his camp claimed that the incident proved other candidates feared Herzog's "widespread support."

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Meanwhile, by 9:30 p.m. approximately 42,000 had already voted in Monday's primary for the Labor Party leadership race, representing 63% of the 66,310 eligible voters.

Accompanied by supporters and campaign staff, the four candidates toured the country's polling stations, with Isaac Herzog and Shelly Yacimovich in the Center, Amram Mitzna in the North and Amir Peretz in the South.

Mitzna cast his vote in Herzliya, Yacimovich in Tel Aviv, and Peretz in Sderot. Herzog had not yet voted.

Former Labor Party chairman Binyamin Ben-Eliezer maintained a neutral position in the elections, and issued an impassioned plea for the victor to do all in his/her power to keep the party united.

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Polls opened at 10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. for the 66,310 party members eligible to cast a ballot. Because votes will be counted by hand at Labor headquarters in Kfar Saba, results are not expected until early Tuesday morning.

The four candidates for the Labor Party leadership each expressed confidence on Sunday that he or she will emerge victorious in Monday’s primary.

The candidates spent Sunday meeting with their campaign teams and volunteers, encouraging them to do everything possible to get out the vote. In photo opportunities at their campaign offices, they all boasted that they had the election- day organization to carry them to victory.

“Our team of 3,000 volunteers will bring 25,000 to 30,000 members to polling stations across the country and we figure more will come on their own,” MK Amir Peretz told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Peretz said his goal was to not only receive more votes than the other candidates but also to obtain the 40 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a September 21 run-off race against the second-place finisher.

MK Shelly Yacimovich, who has been leading in the polls, cautioned her volunteers against complacency.

“The polls are terrific, but the votes you get in the polls don’t count,” she said at her Tel Aviv headquarters.

“We have a huge amount of volunteers all over the country and we are ready.”

MK Isaac Herzog and former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna said they did not believe any of the candidates would get enough votes to avoid a run-off race.

“There will be a second round and I will be in it,” Mitzna said at his campaign headquarters in Haifa, where he was mayor from 1993 to 2003. “Every vote matters. The race is wide open. At the ballot box, people will vote according to their conscience for who they really believe in.”

Herzog said his support had increased by 10 percent in the past week, thanks to activists loyal to Histadrut labor federation chief Ofer Eini and MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who hasn’t endorsed a candidate.

“This will be a very close race,” Herzog said at his Ramat Gan campaign headquarters. “I will be the surprise of this election.”

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