The beleaguered Labor Party is set elect its third leader in four years on Sunday, with the venerable political faction languishing badly in the polls, and with two of its three current Knesset members having quit the party.
There are seven candidates for the 37,104 eligible Labor party members to choose from, with current MK Merav Michaeli strongly placed ahead of a field of lesser-known candidates: Avi Shaked, Ytzhak Time, Gil Beilin, Naava Katz, David Landesman and Ofer Segman.
Voting in primaries has been included in the exemptions to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, and special disposable gloves and alcogel will be made available to voters in order to ensure that the vote on electronic touch screens is carried out safely.
One hundred polling stations will be spread over 70 voting locations around the country, with polls opening at 11 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m.
Current Labor leader and Economy Minister Amir Peretz is retiring from politics, while Labor MK and Welfare and Social Services and Social Equality Minister Itzik Shmuli will also not be running for Labor leader, but is thought likely to join another party.
Labor has been routinely polling under the 3.25% electoral threshold for months, and in many polls is not even breaking 1% of voters.
Peretz famously shaved his celebrated mustache in August 2019 ahead of the second election of the current cycle, so that people could “read my lips” and believe him when he said he would not join a Netanyahu-led government.
In May 2020 after the fourth election, he promptly joined the current Netanyahu-led government, although he has not regrown his mustache.
Despite Peretz and Shmuli entering the coalition, Michaeli declined to join and was strongly critical of her party colleagues’ decision to renege on their election promise.
“We are returning the Labor Party to center stage, and we must not give up on it, not its our roots and not its ideology,” she said. “I call on the party members to go out and vote, do not be apathetic, and let’s restore truth to politics.”