Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog casts his ballot in the primary.
(photo credit: COURTESY LABOR-HATNUA)
The lengthy Labor leadership race will conclude Monday night, when either MK Amir Peretz or former environmental protection minister Avi Gabbay will deliver a victory speech at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
The 52,505 members of Labor will be eligible to vote in any of 80 polling stations across the country between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Because the vote is computerized, results are expected before 10 p.m.
Gabbay and Peretz spent the day calling undecided voters and urging their supporters to go and cast ballots, despite an expected heat wave. They both expressed confidence that they would emerge victorious.
“We will win because the voters know that I am the only one who could beat [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Peretz said.
Gabbay leaked a poll that indicated the race is neck-and-neck, with him leading Peretz by only one percent. Peretz’s associates called the poll nonsense.
“The race is tight, tight, tight,” Gabbay told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv. “It will decide whether Labor will be staying in the opposition after the next general election or whether we will be coming back to power.”
The strategists of the two campaigns each said they were doing everything possible to bring out the vote.
“We have no buses and no money, but we have more than 2,000 determined volunteers who will take people to the polls,” Peretz’s strategist Shmuelik Cohen said. “They are like Uber for just one day.”
Cohen said Gabbay’s decision to start attacking Peretz after running a clean campaign was a sign that “he is losing his marbles, because he knows he is losing.”
Gabbay’s strategist Hillel Partok said all Gabbay was doing when he criticized Peretz was sharpening his messages to the voters.
“We still have clean hands,” Partok said. “We prevented dirt from being published on our rivals. We have been fair and restrained.”
Labor’s membership rolls were accessed by a hacker over the weekend. Labor Secretary-General Eran Hermoni said no damage was done and no changes were made to the list of eligible voters.
“We are reaching the finish line in the election,” Hermoni said. “The first round went smoothly. We have checked all our systems to make sure the runoff race will be by secret ballot – quick, modern and effective.”