Buhbut drops out of Labor race

With roster of candidates finalized, contest comes down to Peretz, Yacimovich, Herzog, Mitzna and Margalit.

Shlomo Buhbut 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shlomo Buhbut 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The roster of Labor leadership candidates was finalized at 5 p.m. on Thursday, after chairman of the Union of Local Authorities Shlomo Buhbut decided not to submit his candidacy for the September 12 primary by the deadline to join the race.
Without Buhbut, the race is left to MKs Amir Peretz, Isaac Herzog and Shelly Yacimovich, along with former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna and Jerusalem venture capitalist Erel Margalit.
“I joined Labor to strengthen the party,” Buhbut said. “What matters is not my own personal gain. I have spoken to all the candidates and I will soon decide whom to back. Then, when the race is over, we must all unite behind the winner.”
But there were indications on Thursday that the candidates would have a difficult time uniting.
Mitzna criticized his rivals in an interview with Haaretz. He slammed Peretz’s mass-membership drive, accused Herzog of lacking leadership, and belittled Yacimovich for caring only about socioeconomic issues.
“I have a high regard for Yacimovich’s battles and for the legislation she has pushed through, but I think that sometimes she throws out the baby with the bathwater,” he said.
“For her, everyone who has a checkbook in his pocket and more than NIS 100,000 available in the bank is a target and is corrupt.
In the end, it’s actually the tycoons who create the most jobs – the same tycoons she attacks.”
Yacimovich responded by calling Mitzna’s approach to her world view “shallow,” and blaming Mitzna for “reducing the Labor Party from 26 to 19 seats even before Kadima was born,” while making no mark on the party when he headed it.
Herzog called upon his fellow candidates to behave responsibly and stop fighting.
“Labor members are sick of divisiveness and mudslinging,” he said.
“With all due respect, the party is more important than the political spinning and headlinegenerating that candidates are doing for their own personal gain. I don’t intend to take part in the transparent game of who can be more provocative.”