Field in Labor Party leadership race to become clearer

Jerusalem venture capitalist Erel Margalit submits candidacy and remains hopeful despite indications he has little chance of winning.

Erel Margalit 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Erel Margalit 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The crowded field in the Labor Party leadership race is expected to become clearer on Thursday, the deadline for candidates to submit the NIS 10,000 fee to run in the September 12 primary.
Jerusalem venture capitalist Erel Margalit formally submitted his candidacy on Wednesday morning, despite indications that he has little chance of beating the other candidates in the race.
Proper polls of the Labor membership that is eligible to vote in the primary cannot be taken until about 60,000 forms submitted during the party’s registration drive have been tabulated. Labor’s secretary-general, Hilik Bar, said that process would not be completed until at least July 6.
Until those polls are taken, any of the candidates can assume that they have a chance of winning, even though the candidates that submitted the most forms have an advantage.
Margalit’s spokesman Nadav Gal-On said his boss was undaunted by naysayers, and that he was in the race to stay.
“You have to respect a man who says he has helped himself enough and now wants to do something to help the country by entering politics,” Gal-On said. “Erel signed up thousands of people to the party, and they want him to run. He is meeting people all over the country and making people think twice about whom to support.”
Surrounded by supporters who accompanied him to Labor’s headquarters in Kfar Saba, Margalit said, “The time has come for Labor to have a new leadership that will stand up to Netanyahu and fight him with full force.”
MKs Amir Peretz, Isaac Herzog, and Shelly Yacimovich and former Labor chairman Amram Mitzna are expected to submit their candidacies by the deadline.
Shlomo Buhbut, chairman of Union of Local Authorities, had not decided by press time whether to run.