Gal-On decides not to quit as Meretz chief after party rises to 5 mandates in final count

Gal-On had previously said that she would step down from the leadership in favor of Meretz no. 5 Tamar Zandberg if the final count had failed to top four mandates.

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform (photo credit: MERETZ)
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform
(photo credit: MERETZ)
Meretz Party head Zehava Gal-On on Thursday announced that she would continue to lead the party, after the final Central Elections Committee count showed that it had won five mandates, as opposed to the four that was announced on election night.
The final tally was released after soldiers’ votes, and absentee ballots, were counted.
“Meretz received the fifth mandate from its young supporters, IDF soldiers,” Gal-On said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the soldiers’ votes helped the party maintain the same amount of mandates as it had in the 19th Knesset, when it received some 170,000 votes.
Gal-On said the achievement was “against all odds” and that she “was moved by the encouragement and thousands of responses I received from supporters. We are entering a rebuilding phase for Meretz and the Israeli Left which I will lead along with my colleagues and together we will raise the flag of peace social justice, equality and the anti-racist struggle in the face of the right-wing government both inside and outside the parliament.”
On Wednesday morning, when her party was projected to only receive four mandates, Gal-On wrote on Facebook that she would step down as head of the party and leave the party list, in order to allow the party’s No. 5, Tamar Zandberg, to remain in the Knesset.
“I said all along that if Meretz does not meet its expectations, I would take personal responsibility.
Therefore, this morning I announced that I am resigning and giving up my place in the Knesset so that my colleague Tamar Zandberg can be in the Knesset in my place.
“This is a very difficult moment for me. I hope that Meretz would maintain its strength and beyond that I hoped that we would be able to create an alternative government that would end the Netanyahu era. To my dismay that is very much not what happened.”
She added that it wasn’t the voters who disappointed them, but rather “it was we who disappointed the voters.”