Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay [L] and Leader of the Opposition Tzipi Livni [R]. .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Labor Party set a relative late February 12 date for its primary to elect its Knesset list, in part to prevent MKs who do not win realistic slots defecting to another party, sources in Labor confirmed Monday.
The Labor primary is expected to be especially challenging, because Labor ran on the Zionist Union slate that had 24 MKs in the 2015 election and polls now predict that it will win only eight or nine seats in the April 9 race for the Knesset.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay, who is not currently an MK, has the right to choose two candidates in the top seven, and Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni also has a reserved slot, leaving only four slots in the top 10 for the winners of the primary.
In the 2015 election, the top slots behind then-party leader Isaac Herzog and Livni were won by MKs Shelly Yacimovich, Stav Shaffir, Itzik Shmuli and Omer Bar Lev.
The Labor race will be a week after the primary election in Likud
The party said its nearly 60,000 members would “choose their representatives and together we will prepare an excellent list of candidates committed to changing the country.”
Livni sparred with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid at a conference of the economic newspaper Calcalist on Monday about the challenges of forming a center-left bloc.
“I am a vegetarian, but in this election, being pareve is unacceptable,” Livni said. “One must choose a side. Only one who has chosen a path can lead. There is a chance for an upheaval, but to do it, an alternative worldview must be presented out loud, without blinking or winking to the other side, and this is what we intend to do.”
Lapid responded that there is no such thing as a center-left bloc.
“It takes time to get used to it, but Israel has a Right, a Left and a center,” Lapid said. “Most of the citizens are in the center. The center won’t unite with the Right or the Left, because it leads the correct path.”
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