Shaffir starts Election Day where she pitched tent

Shmuli vows to double Labor's votes; Peretz promises transparency

July 2, 2019 11:34
2 minute read.
Shaffir starts Election Day where she pitched tent

Labor MK Stav Shafir stands wth supporters on the day of Labor primaries, at Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, July 2, 2019. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Labor leadership candidate MK Stav Shaffir symbolically began her day on Tuesday on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, where she became a household name as one of the leaders of the socioeconomic protests of the summer of 2011.

She recalled how throughout her career, whenever she was told she could not accomplish her goals, she defied her naysayers. She vowed to do the same in Tuesday's leadership primary race.

"They always told me I couldn’t do it, that my generation couldn’t, but I have always proven I can," Shaffir said. "If all those who support me, those who joined to back me, come out to vote, there will be drama, and tonight I will be head of the party."

Shaffir, 34, vowed that under her leadership, Labor would be a courageous party on the path of former prime ministers and Labor leaders David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin.

"We will be a party that does not stop fighting for our democracy for even a moment," she said. "The race is close, but it is possible for an upheaval to take place today. We will build a strong democratic camp with Blue and White, Ehud Barak and Meretz, rehabilitiate the party and come back to power." 

But fellow contender MK Itzik Shmuli warned those who want change in Labor not to vote for Shaffir, because his polls have found that only he can defeat the leading candidate in the polls, MK Amir Peretz.

"Labor may be in its worst ever crisis, but we have an opportunity to write a new chapter of hope," Shmuli said at a Tel Aviv polling station. "There is a close race between me and Peretz. It is forbidden to split the vote of the camp that wants change in Labor. All those who want new sectors in the party and those who left to come home should know that polls show I can double the strength of Labor."

Labor MK Itzik Shmuly arrives to vote at Labor primaries with his husband and baby. (Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)

Shmuli voted alongside his life partner Eran in Tel Aviv at the same time that Peretz voted with his wife Achlama near their home in Sderot.

"Labor will return to being a wide political home for all the citizens of Israel," Peretz said. "Labor under my leadership will restore the party's bond with the periphery."

Labor MK Amir Peretz arrives to vote at Labor primares. (Courtesy)

He said Labor would then seek bonds with other parties ahead of the September 17 election in a manner that will be completely transparent and that will set aside personal considerations for a greater good. 

Some 65,000 members are eligible to vote in more than 100 polling stations across the country. The victor will be revealed late Tuesday night at Tel Aviv University.

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