Labor candidates concerned about turnout in Monday vote

Yacimovich concerned that rival Amir Peretz's well-oiled machine will give him advantage, while her young supporters may turn indifferent when it counts.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 11, 2011 03:58
2 minute read.
Shelly Yacimovich

Shelly Yacimovich 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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The four candidates in Monday’s Labor leadership race spent the weekend speaking to their top activists, telling them to do what they can to get as many supporters as possible to vote.

Polling stations across the country will open at 10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. to enable the more than 66,000 Labor members eligible to vote.

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Results are expected at midnight, and if the race is close, the victor will only be known in the morning.

Sources close to MK Shelly Yacimovich expressed concern over the weekend that her main competition, MK Amir Peretz, will use his well-oiled machine to get out the vote, while the young activists who support her could turn indifferent when it counts.

Yacimovich expressed her hope that she could obtain the 40 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a run-off race against the second-place finisher, which would be held September 21.

“On Monday, let’s win in the first round,” Yacimovich said in a message to her supporters on her website. “We are strong in the field, in our organization, in our spirit and in the polls – but complacency is a dangerous enemy. The contest is between Amir and I, and Amir knows how to work, but we do, too.”

Yacimovich continued her strategy of telling people that any vote for MK Isaac Herzog or former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna is a waste of a vote, because of polls indicating that she and Peretz had the best chance of winning unless Herzog and Mitzna joined forces.



Despite consistently polling in last place among the four candidates, Mitzna continued to insist over the weekend that he would remain in the race and win.

“We ask the voters to follow their conscience and not vote for the nice guy [Herzog], the promise-maker [Peretz], or “Kohav Nolad” [the Israeli version of American Idol, referring to Yacimovich],” Mitzna said. “It is absurd and delusional that I will join Buji [Herzog]. There is no chance of me being his number 2. My supporters are quality people who will lead me into battle, and I am sure I will succeed.”

Activists loyal to Herzog and venture capitalist Erel Margalit, who quit the race and endorsed Herzog, will hold a joint meeting to plan strategy for election day in Ramat Gan on Sunday.

At a closing rally at Beit Berl Teachers College in Kfar Saba on Friday, Peretz expressed concern that Ofer Eini, who replaced him as head of the Histadrut, would interfere in the election, using the organization of the labor union to work against him. He called upon Eini to let Histadrut members vote according to their conscience.

“Our chances of winning this battle by Monday night are very good,” Peretz told the activists. “Monday is the date of our remarriage with the Israeli public. The wedding will take place at 10 p.m., and the after-party will last all night long.”

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