Gilon scores upset win in Meretz primary

Says support for merger with new left movement not guaranteed.

zehava gal on  (photo credit: Channel 2)
zehava gal on
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A day after scoring an upset win in the Meretz party primaries, former MK Ilan Gilon called for the terms of the planned merger with the new left-wing movement, Hatnua Hahadasha, to be reconsidered. "We don't need more of the same people joining Meretz," Gilon said. "If the newcomers constitute and important addition to the party, I will support the merger. We now approach the negotiations from a different place than before the primaries and I am not ruling anything out yet." Gilon, 52, won the second slot in the party's first quintet behind Meretz chairman Haim Oron, beating out MK Zehava Gal-On by110 votes. Gal-On, who had been hotly tipped to take the second slot, said she was disappointed but respected the vote by the 995-member Meretz council. Another former Meretz MK, Mossy Raz, edged out serving MK Avshalom Vilan to place fourth in the quintet. MK Tzvia Greenfield, who replaced former party chairman Yossi Belin in the Knesset last month, is at number six in the list, while Issawi Frige, an accountant and Meretz Council member from Kafr Kasim, won the seventh slot, reserved for minorities. Michal Rosin, 39, general-director of The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, 39, from Petah Tikva, won the eighth slot - reserved for women - while Young Meretz head Uri Zaki, 34, from Tel Aviv, won the ninth and human rights lawyer Gaby Lasky, 41, from Tel Aviv won the tenth slot. However, as a result of Oron's plan to merge with Hatnua Hahadasha, the list is not the party's final list for February's Knesset elections as the members of the new movement want the second, fifth, seventh and ninth slots for their candidates. Among Hatnua Hahadasha's candidates are former Labor MK Tzali Reshef and two former advisers to Labor chairman Ehud Barak - Gilad Sher and Yossi Kucik. Former Labor MK Uzi Baram's son, journalist Nir Baram, and Channel 10's foreign affairs editor Nitzan Horowitz - if he decides to run - are expected to get a slot in the Meretz-Hatnua Hahadasha list. Based on conversations with Meretz candidates for the Knesset, the merger with Hatnua Hahadasha may not go as smoothly as had previously been expected. With the latest polls predicting the combined list to take six to seven seats, compared to nine seats a month ago, and five seats currently held by the party, some of them may have to drop to slots that will leave them out of the running for a Knesset seat. Frige, the first Meretz candidate to openly speak out against Oron's initiative to merge with Hatnua Hahadasha warned that if Meretz did not have an Arab MK the party would lose the support of the Arab sector. "We mustn't sacrifice the Jewish-Arabic partnership in the party for the sake of merging with the new movement," he said. Mossy Raz, however said that he didn't mind dropping down the list to make way for the merger. "I kept saying that the slots should be shared with Hatnua Hahadasha's members starting from the seventh slot, but now that I've won the fourth slot I don't mind if it starts from the fourth - meaning the fourth, the ninth and the eleventh slots will be given to Hatnua Hahadasha's members," Raz said. "I believe in this move and I don't mind being pushed to the fifth slot." Teams from Meretz and Hatnua Hahadasha were due to meet late Monday for talks.