Beilin optimistic of Meretz popularity

"We have only lost 1.5 mandates to the Kadima party, and we may regain those."

yossi beilin 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yossi beilin 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As the Meretz Party prepared for its primaries Monday, party leader Yossi Beilin seemed assured that the recent political upsets would not affect his party's popularity. "I don't think that there is any direct connection between us and them," said Beilin. "We have only lost 1.5 mandates to the Kadima party, and we may regain those." In recent polls, Meretz has been projected to win five mandates. The list that they will be presenting to voters will be chosen by party members Monday, according to a election system that resembles the structure of the Eurovision song contest. The 22 candidates that have been selected to represent the party can choose to run for the first five spots on the party list, or the second five spots. Each voter can choose up to eight candidates, four from each quintet. The person they elect to the top slot receives six points, with each member after that receiving one point less in consecutive order. "I expect that when the votes are counted, the picture will not be very surprising," said Beilin. "There may be a slight shuffling, as there always is." Serving MKs Ran Cohen, Zahava Gal-On and Haim Oron are expected to receive top spots, said party sources, as well as Mussi Raz, Ilan Gilon and newcomer Tzvia Greenfield. "In the short run we saw support increase for Kadima, but I think this is only the short run, I think Kadima will shrink," said Beilin. Meanwhile, Labor Party officials said that the party was rallying ahead of the their primaries Tuesday night. In recent weeks, intraparty disputes, and the lack of a campaign manager have created disunity within the party, said officials. High-ranking Labor officials projected that MK Ophir Pas-Pines, Avishay Braverman, MK Isaac Herzog, and Ami Ayalon would receive spots in the top five of the party list.