After Meretz received only four mandates according to Wednesday's election results - two less than pre-election polls suggested it would receive - top party officials expressed strong criticism of party chair Yossi Beilin, with some party members calling for him to "take responsibility" and resign.
"The atmosphere is heavy," one source within Meretz said Wednesday. "There are top party officials calling on Beilin to resign - but it's probably not in his character or something he wishes to do, and the party is now thinking of the next step."
Similar calls for Beilin's resignation were already heard within Meretz last week, when the party started to dip in pre-election polls. At that time top party officials were already speaking about replacing Beilin, whom they described as stuck in the past and not forward-looking and charismatic enough.
Mosi Raz, Meretz's No. 10, said Wednesday on the Israeli-Palestinian radio station "All for Peace" that the main reason for Meretz's defeat was that it had abandoned its main platform, which he said was the struggle against the occupation and the settlements.
"Meretz chose the wrong subjects to focus on in recent years," Raz said. "There is no doubt," he added, "that Beilin has to carefully consider what to do after such a failure."
In an interview on Israel Radio on Wednesday, Beilin said that he might have to "bear the consequences" if there are "those who demand it," and reiterated that he saw Meretz as a potential partner in a Kadima-led coalition.
Beilin reportedly left in the midst of the party's meeting on Wednesday, and Meretz members are scheduled to convene again on Thursday morning to further discuss the party's next steps.
Former Meretz chair Ran Cohen told the Post that the election results were indeed "a hard blow." "We have to draw our conclusions in a serious way about the mistakes that have been made, and continue forward," he said.
Although he said that Beilin was "one of the problems," Cohen did not openly call for his resignation. "Let people first declare their responsibility, including those who [were] elected," he said. "It's not my way to brandish knives and swords."
Former Meretz leader Shulamit Aloni said she regretted what had happened to the party. "There were a number of mistakes in the campaign," she said. "Too little ideology, too little of a struggle for human rights."
Aloni would not give a direct statement about what she thought Beilin should do.
"I was not a partner in this," she said. "People have to examine the defeat and come to their own conclusions. I won't tell anyone to resign. "
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