The Labor Party will continue its revival on Monday when 62 candidates compete in primaries that will be held online and in nine polling stations across the country.
The polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and results will be available hours later.
Labor leader Merav Michaeli said that by holding primaries, Labor was proving that it was currently Israel’s only democratic party.
Once the votes are counted, Michaeli intends to intensify negotiations on political mergers with The Israelis Party of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, which was harmed on Sunday by the dramatic departure of its number two, former justice minister Avi Nissenkorn.
Nissenkorn announced on Sunday that he is taking a break from politics, putting into question the future of the party.
“The Center-Left camp needs mergers to survive, and there are too many parties and candidates,” Nissenkorn said. “One has to know when to step aside, and that is what I am doing.”
Nissenkorn turned down a slot near the top in Yesh Atid and a chance to run for Labor leader and accepted the second slot in The Israelis Party behind Huldai. The party has floundered in the polls. A poll in Friday’s Israel Hayom newspaper gave the party only 0.6% of the vote, far below the 3.25% electoral threshold. Nissenkorn’s departure could be an indication that Huldai will quit the race and remain in his position as Mayor of Tel Aviv.
But Huldai announced in a televised address that he is not quitting the race. He called for the Center-Left camp to unite into one or two lists and said he would do everything he could to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
KAN reported that Huldai begged Nissenkorn to delay his departure until after the Labor primary, but he replied to Huldai that he “did not want to be part of the Center-Left’s suicide.”
One candidate running in the Labor primary is former Blue and White MK Ram Shefa, who resigned from the Knesset on Friday and was replaced by Cape Town-raised Ruth Wasserman Lande. On January 8, Wasserman Lande became the first MK raised in South Africa since Revisionist leader Shmuel Katz (1914 -2008).
Nonetheless, after delivering her maiden speech to the parliament, three days later Wasserman Lande left the Knesset due to the Norwegian Law. Former science and technology minister Izhar Shay chose to quit his cabinet posts and return to the Knesset as a member, replacing Lande after her brief stint as an MK.
Blue and White MK Hila Shay Vazan announced that she will quit the Knesset on Sunday to run with Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope Party. She will be replaced in the Knesset by the next name on the combined Blue and White-Yesh Atid list, Anat Knafo of Yesh Atid.
Should anyone else on that list quit the Knesset, the next candidate to fill the vacant slot would be North Carolina-born environmentalist Alon Tal.