One day ahead of Tuesday's Labor Party primaries, party chairman Amir Peretz unveiled a surprising new campaign team with two prominent Americans at the helm.
Former Bill Clinton advisers Stanley Greenberg and Jeremy Rosner will work on a team led by newly hired campaign manager Roni Rimon. Rimon will be the third manager the party has employed since Peretz was elected.
Peretz introduced his team as "the best people possible with experience winning elections all over the world," during a press conference Monday at the Labor campaign headquarters.
While aides to Peretz claimed that the combination of the new campaign team and Tuesday's primaries would boost Labor in the polls, several senior party members expressed doubt over the direction of the campaign.
"They may have a great team but what we really need to see now is stability. They need to keep this team for a long time and let us begin to climb in the polls," said one senior member.
Peretz has vehemently denied recent charges of favoritism among candidates and made few public appearances ahead of the primaries lest he show preference to one candidate over another said an aide.
Orna Angl, a candidate for one of the four spots reserved for women, lashed our at Peretz Sunday asking him not to endorse certain candidates unfairly. Angl was also one of the main organizers behind a move to change the party's primaries election process to a vote within Labor's central committee.
During Labor's slow drop in the polls this month, party spokesmen voiced optimism that the list chosen Tuesday would boost Labor's popularity. Current projections show MKs Ophir Paz-Pines, Isaac Herzog, Benyamin Ben-Eliezer and Yuli Tamir, Ben-Gurion University President Avishai Braverman and Former Jerusalem police chief Ami Ayalon as top contenders for the Labor list.
The first 15 places on the Labor Party's list are reserved for national candidates with four slots set aside for women. The first slot has been reserved for Peretz, the second for Labor Party faction head Eitan Cabel and the 10th for Rabbi Michael Melchior. Special sectors including the kibbutzim, towns, inner cities, Arabs and immigrants occupy the 16th through 23rd slots.
The battle for the 23rd slot, reserved for immigrants and the 27th slot, reserved for a young candidate, are expected to be especially close. Businessman Guy Speigelman, Peace Now Director Yariv Oppenheimer and Kiriyat Motzkin city council member Erez Friedman are vying for the youth spot while two Russian candidates, Leon Litinsky and Nada Chudhoi are competing for the immigrant slot.
Officials announced that 115,948 members have registered to vote Tuesday at more than 350 polling stations.