Meretz party convention votes for closed primary, reversing previous policy

‘We are fighting to stop the descent into apartheid’ says party leader Zandberg.

Meterz Party Leader Tamar Zandberg, October 22, 2018 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Meterz Party Leader Tamar Zandberg, October 22, 2018
The Meretz party convention voted Sunday night against proposals to elect a new leader and the party’s electoral list through direct, open primaries, meaning that its upcoming new leadership contest will be decided by the 1,000-member convention itself.
The leadership contest will now take place on June 27 and the primaries for the rest of the Meretz electoral slate will take place on July 11.
Motions had been proposed to put the two votes to the 31,000 Meretz party members, and required a 60 percent majority, but both motions were defeated.
The previous leadership election in 2018 and the primaries for the electoral slate in February this year were open to all party members, but this policy has now been reversed.
Current Meretz chair MK Tamar Zandberg faces at least one challenger in former party MK Nitzan Horowitz who announced he was running for the party chairmanship last week.
The Meretz convention also voted against a proposal to institute two party chairmen, an idea designed to allow a Jewish and an Arab leader of the party.
Despite this, Zandberg described Meretz as “a Jewish-Arab party,” and lauded its success in garnering votes from the Arab sector during the last election.
In her speech Sunday night, Zandberg also took particular pride in what she described as the “dangerous policies of the Trump administration,” which she said opened the gates for conflict with Iran; “which for the first time did not commit to two-states”; and for “destabilising” the region, pointing specifically to the Trump administration’s decision to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
She also condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to stave off a pending indictment, saying that his efforts to avoid prosecution “dictate everything - from restoring Biblical law to the horrific dream of annexing [the settlements]”
Said the Meretz leader “In just a few years we have gone from being the ones to lead the vision for two states to the ones that need to halt the descent into apartheid.”
She also lauded Meretz’s success in obtaining several tens of thousands of votes from Arab voters, saying that Meretz had created “a new Jewish-Arab political pact” saying that this was the future for the Israeli Left and indeed the State of Israel.
“This is the one thing that is completely in our field and can change the election results for the good of the Left,” she said.
“Meretz today is a Jewish-Arab party… Jewish-Arab partnership is the future, not just for Meretz but for a civil, egalitarian, and democratic State of Israel.”