Labor Party Chair Avi Gabbay.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The tenure of Avi Gabbay as Labor Party leader will end on July 2, two years since he was elected to the post, after he announced on Tuesday that he would not run in the July 2 Labor leadership race.
Gabbay had resisted calls to resign since he led Labor from 24 to six seats in the April 9 election. But he wrote in a lengthy post on Facebook on Tuesday that he would not try to stay on longer by running in the primary.
“I will not run for leader of the party next month,” Gabbay wrote. “The direction was already clear the night of the last election, but big decisions must not be made in a time of a storm, so I waited until the issue would be relevant to decide and make an announcement.”
Gabbay is still expected to run for Knesset, whether Wednesday’s Labor convention decides to keep the current list of Knesset candidates for the September 17 election or holds a new primary for the list among the 60,000 party members.
The former businessman and minister with the Kulanu party won the July 4, 2017, Labor leadership race with great fanfare, defeating MK Amir Peretz in a run-off race after the two candidates won more votes than six other candidates.
Gabbay ran a campaign in which he promised not to enter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, but after the April 9 election he negotiated a deal with Netanyahu, and said over the weekend that he still regrets not joining Netanyahu’s coalition and preventing the new election.
Labor has still not decided how to elect Gabbay’s successor. The party postponed its convention that had been scheduled for Wednesday after the Tel Aviv District Court ruled that the party’s 60,000 registered members – and not the 3,500 activists eligible to vote in the convention – must decide what body should select Labor’s next leader.
Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.
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