Meretz may hold survey over leader

The Meretz Party's managing board will meet on Sunday to consider board chairman Mossy Raz's proposal to sponsor a survey asking the general public which contender for the Meretz chairmanship would make them more likely to vote for the party. Raz said it was important that an objective poll be taken to help the undecided among the 15,000 Meretz members who will be eligible to vote in the March 18 primary. He said the party was not considering cancelling the primary and electing its leader based on a poll. "I want to know how many mandates each candidate would bring," Raz said. "But I understand that polls are problematic, especially among young voters." Candidates Haim Oron and Zehava Gal-On criticized the proposal, but Ran Cohen said he was in favor of the idea. None of the candidates would quit the race if they fared poorly in the poll. Current Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin dropped out of the race on Sunday and endorsed Oron. A Ma'agar Mohot poll broadcast on Israel Radio on Thursday found that among the general public, 70 percent do not care who wins the race, 15% want Oron to win, 11% Cohen and 4% Gal-On. Among Meretz voters, 59% said they supported Oron, 18% Gal-On and 6%, said Cohen.