Meretz plans expanded left-wing party

Party to decide which spots will be filled by Hatnua Hadasha members after Sunday's primary elections.

haim oron 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haim oron 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Meretz will wait until after its primary next week to decide which spots on its Knesset list will be filled by representatives of Hatnua Hahadasha (The New Movement), party chairman Haim Oron said Thursday. On Sunday between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m., the nearly 1,000 strong Meretz council will vote at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds to rank the 22 candidates. Meretz officials and Hatnua Hahadasha members discussed the details of their joint run for the Knesset on Thursday. Hatnua Hahadasha was established by prominent figures from the Left in an effort to strengthen Meretz in February's elections. Once a merger is approved, the new group is to change its name to Hatnua Hahadasha-Meretz, and another merger, with the Green Party, will be examined in an attempt to create a broader and stronger left-wing block in the next Knesset. "The intention is to reserve spots for the members of Hatnua Hahadasha across the list. This is not an addition to Meretz but a new group of people who join us to work together," Oron said. Former Labor MK Tzali Reshef, one of the founders of Hatnua Hahadasha, said the new group was made up of a few hundred people from all parts of society. "We see Meretz as a platform for establishing a social democratic party. We want to create a political home for hundreds of voters, as today there are fewer than 20 MKs who identify with the social-democratic outlook," Reshef said. The two groups have chosen a negotiating team to finalize the terms of the merger. That team will meet after Sunday's primary and include Oron, whoever wins the No. 2 spot on the candidate list, former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan, Reshef, Tel Aviv University history professor Aviad Kleinberg, historian Dr. Avner Ben-Zaken and musician Sharon Kantor. On Wednesday, Hatnua Hahadasha co-founder Nir Baram, the son of former Labor MK Uzi Baram, warned that the merger might run into difficulties and even fail if Meretz were inflexible about putting Hatnua Hahadasha's representatives in realistic spots on its Knesset list. On the same day, several Meretz MKs voiced opposition to placing representatives of Hatnua Hahadasha in top slots on the candidates list.