Meretz rejects holding open primaries

Proposal by the party's leader Zehava Gal-On would have let non-members of Meretz vote in the primary as long as they paid a fee.

July 3, 2017 11:01
1 minute read.
Zehava Gal-On

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform. (photo credit: MERETZ)


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The Meretz Party’s governing council rejected a proposal by party leader Zehava Gal-On to initiate open primaries in Meretz’s next leadership and Knesset races.

The proposal, submitted Sunday night at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, would have let nonmembers of Meretz vote in the primary as long as they paid a fee. It was seen as a model for what could be done in the Center-Left to choose a candidate to face off against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the next general election, if criminal investigations do not end his political career.

Among the 664 council members who cast ballots, 43.5% voted in favor of the proposal, 23% preferred expanding Meretz’s voting body from 1,000 to 2,000, 11% voted to have all Meretz members vote, 4% preferred closed primaries, and 18% opposed all the proposals. Because none of the proposals received 60% of the vote, none of them was approved.

Gal-On said she did not see the vote as a rejection, because of the support she received. She noted that a poll found that 83% of Meretz voters want her proposal approved.

“Support for the idea is growing,” Gal-On said. “We need to open the ranks in our party but we cannot in the current system, which allows political hacks who don’t want the party to develop to stop its progress.”

Gal-On noted that a new council would be elected in October, and perhaps it would approve the proposal.

She expressed satisfaction that a proposal aimed at forcing her out of the Meretz leadership was not approved.

“This vote lays the groundwork for open primaries,” Gal-On said. “The great support the proposal received gives new hope for continuing the effort in the real vote, which will be in the next council.”

But MK Ilan Gilon, who opposed the proposal, mocked it and said he would not let random people decide Meretz’s leader and its candidates for the next Knesset.

“The results of the vote speak for themselves,” a source close to Gilon said. “The young people and the activists defeated the hacks and their political maneuvering.”

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