As the Labor Party prepared for its weekly faction meeting scheduled for Monday under the shadow of dismal polls, rumors circulated regarding possible candidates for party positions, including those vying to succeed Labor Chairman Ehud Barak.
One name that emerged Sunday to replace the embattled defense minister was that of Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini, who already has the open support of at least one influential Labor MK - Shelly Yacimovich.
A poll published Friday in Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot showed that Labor voters were abandoning the party in droves, with the party plummeting to seven mandates if elections were to be held now - and that those that remained do not overwhelmingly support any current MK or minister as Barak's replacement.
The polls did, however, indicate that the majority of Labor voters tended to favor candidates representing the social-democratic wing of the party - a wing that could prove receptive to the union leader.
Army Radio reported that some Labor Party activists had already turned to Eini in the hopes of recruiting him to save the flagging party. Eini did not respond to the reports Sunday.
According to internal party procedure, it will be exactly three years before the party is scheduled to meet to select a new chairman - unless, of course, the general elections for the Knesset are held before their 2013 scheduled date.
Monday's faction meeting would be the second run without any faction chairman; MK Danny Ben-Simon resigned the position last week, and no other MK has come forward to take his place.
In fact, there is now only one remaining MK - Yacimovich - who is neither Ben-Simon himself nor a member of the self-styled Group of Four Labor rebels who refuse altogether to caucus with their party.
It seemed likely Sunday that the faction-head responsibility could be delegated to Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Orit Noked.
Noked is the lowest-ranking of the eight Labor representatives who are now serving in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet, and as such is the most likely choice for the post.
Noked is, in fact, the lowest representative on the party list - No. 13 - well below the four rebels, Ben-Simon and Yacimovich.
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