Independence faction 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The results of the first round of the Labor leadership race persuaded hundreds
of party members to leave for the Independence Party, sources in Defense
Minister Ehud Barak’s party said Wednesday.
RELATED:Peretz: Yacimovich strong-armed voters at the ballot box Labor to hold run-off between Yacimovich and Peretz
The sources said that many
supporters of losing candidates Isaac Herzog and Amram Mitzna, who had backed
Barak in the past had called, phoned, e-mailed or Facebooked Independence
officials since Monday’s Labor race. They said the frustrated Laborites included
branch heads and regional directors.
“Hundreds of people have realized
that Labor is no longer their cup of tea,” an Independence official
“They don’t want to go to Kadima, so they come to us. The
people who leave Labor will form the infrastructure of our new
The officials said they expected hundreds more to leave Labor
following Wednesday’s second round of voting, depending on whether it is won by
MK Shelly Yacimovich or MK Amir Peretz.
The Independence Party will
publicly welcome the former Laborites at their pre- Rosh Hashana toast on
September 25, confirmed Independence Party director-general Oshi
Yacimovich and Peretz each met with Herzog and Yacimovich on
Wednesday in an effort to draft their support.
Both are expected by the
end of the week either to announce whom they intend to back in the second round
or whether they will not endorse anyone.
A group of mayors sent Herzog a
letter urging him to support Peretz.
The list of mayors included Shlomo
Buhbut of Ma’alot, Itzik Rochbereger of Ramat Hasharon, and Sha’ar Hanegev
Regional Council Mayor Alon Shuster.
Peretz continued warning on
Wednesday that if Yacimovich won she would help Likud. As proof, his spokesman
noted that MK Carmel Shama-Hakohen (Likud) endorsed Yacimovich on his Facebook
Yacimovich said afterward that she was not responsible for the
opinions of Likud MKs but that under her leadership, Labor would help lead a
A Dialog poll published in Haaretz found that if
elections were held now, the Labor Party would win 22 Knesset seats under
Yacimovich and 18 under Peretz.
Yacimovich would take six seats away from
Kadima and Peretz would take four, the poll found.