Michaeli, Shmuli likely to face off for Labor leader

Court forces election's only primaries.

Merav-Michaeli (photo credit: (AICF/CHRIS LEE))
(photo credit: (AICF/CHRIS LEE))
MK Merav Michaeli announced on Sunday that she will run for the leadership of the Labor Party after Amir Peretz said he would be stepping down.
MK Itzik Shmuli is expected to join the leadership race as early as Monday and another possible candidate is former prime minister Ehud Barak, who has also led the party in the past. He is being wooed by Histadrut official Pini Kabalo and other Labor activists.
Labor will be the only party to choose its leader and its Knesset candidates ahead of the March 23 election after Tel Aviv District Court ruled on Sunday that a move by Peretz to cancel the party’s primary vote was illegal.
Six weeks ago, Labor’s convention decided by a two-thirds majority to cancel the party’s primary for the chairmanship and for Knesset candidates, removing the right to vote from Labor’s 44,000 members and handing it to the 3,800 delegates eligible to vote at the convention.
Those delegates mainly support Peretz and they also voted to authorize him to merge Labor with Blue and White and with other parties. That proposal passed by 69% in favor and 30% opposed.
But the court on Sunday rejected the decision and ruled in favor of Michaeli, who petitioned against Peretz’s move.
“Democracy won, truth won, justice won, and we won,” Michaeli said. “It was not an easy battle. We were up against the powerful and well-funded party apparatus that controls Labor’s resources. We achieved the justice that we so needed to achieve.”
Sources close to Peretz said they were surprised by the ruling and said they will appeal it to the Supreme Court.