Labor Party Chair Avi Gabbay.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Labor leader Avi Gabbay’s attempts to unite the entire party behind his leadership and present himself as a legitimate candidate for prime minister at Thursday’s party convention will fail, his critics in Labor promised Wednesday.
Over the past two weeks, MKs Eitan Cabel, Yossi Yonah and Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin have been calling for Gabbay to be replaced or for Labor to run together with a party with a leader who could potentially defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the April 9 election.
Sources close to Gabbay said they would only decide just ahead of the convention whether anyone other than the party leader would be allowed to address the crowd. All three of the rebels have requested to speak against Gabbay’s proposal to enable him to choose the party’s candidates in the second, 10th and 16th slots.
“No one can stop my voice from being heard,” Cabel told The Jerusalem Post
. “Even Bibi [Netanyahu] initially asked his party for three reserved slots, and he got only one, which is 21st on the list, and even he needs a secret ballot vote to approve it.”
No alternative proposal will be brought to the convention, after attempts to force a vote on there being no reserved slots failed, as did an attempt to force a vote on removing Gabbay from the Labor leadership.
MK Amir Peretz, who has strong support at the convention, rejected an attempt by Labor activists to crown him as the party’s top candidate in the election instead of Gabbay. This will also be the first party meeting since Gabbay broke up the successful Zionist Union partnership with MK Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua Party that won 24 seats in the 2015 election.
Miki Rosenthal became the first of what are expected to be many Labor MKs to announce that he will not run in the upcoming Knesset elections on Wednesday. He said he felt collective responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the polls.
“I am leaving party politics, but I am not leaving public life in Israel,” Rosenthal said in a statement. “I will continue to fight for Israel as a Jewish state that embraces equality and strives for a peaceful society that is more just and less corrupt.”
He said he was happy to have succeeded in helping thousands of citizens and apologized to anyone for whom he was not able to help.
Rosenthal said he never saw his participation in the Knesset as a goal in and of itself, and “politics is to me just a means to an end. I conclude my six years in the Knesset with pride, significant legislative accomplishments and intensive parliamentary work that did not succumb to populism.”Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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