Labor holds primary amid dip in polls

60,000 party members to choose list for 18th Knesset; poll predicts party will crash to 6 seats.

Barak Im gonna kill you 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Barak Im gonna kill you 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Under the shadow of a new poll predicting that the party will win only six seats in the February 10 national elections, almost 60,000 Labor Party members will vote in the party's primary on Tuesday, After weeks of internal turmoil, threats by MKs to leave the party and unflattering polls, party members will choose their list for the 18th Knesset. According to a poll published on Monday and conducted by 'Panels Ltd.' for Channel 2, were elections held today, Labor, headed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, would crash to only six Knesset seat. Labor won 19 seats in the last election. According to the new poll, the Likud would gain 33 seats as opposed to Kadima's 25. The poll finds that Labor would be replaced as the largest party on the Left by Meretz - predicted to receive seven seats. United Torah Judaism and the Green Party would both get four seats, according to the poll. The poll gave Shas 12 seats, Israel Beiteinu 11, the Arab parties 10 and the new Right-wing party Habayit Hayehudi seven. Nevertheless, Labor officials were trying to stay positive, and on Monday senior MKs said they were hoping for the best despite the fact that this primary campaign has been characterized by no more than 70-80 supporters at each members' rally. Labor's primary will be held between 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. The results are expected to be published an hour after all polls are closed, since Labor is the first party to hold electronic voting that will allow a fast counting of the votes. Each one of Labor's 59,039 members will have to choose their top five to eight candidates to the Knesset. In addition, due to the use of electronic voting, each member will be able to vote in each one of Labor's 159 polling stations and 275 computer stations spread across the country, regardless of their place of residence. Labor members unfamiliar with the new system will be helped by simulation stations and assistants at the polls. The Teldor Company will oversee the technical side of the elections. A situation room will be operated at Teldor's offices and will be in touch with each one of the polls, the supervising teams, and the police, who will assist in keeping order throughout the day. According to Labor's elections headquarters, the breakdown of party members are in the kibbutzim (10,392 members), the Israeli Arab sector (6,424 members) the Negev District (5,956), the Samaria and the Sharon District (5,930) and in the Central District (5,922). Jerusalem is the smallest district for Labor with only 2,290 members.