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Gabbay gives himself second slot on Labor list while Rousso opts out
The proposal to keep the same list of Knesset candidates but with an as yet unselected new leader is expected to be approved in Wednesday's Labor convention.
Two months after leading Labor to only six seats in the April 9 election, party chairman Avi Gabbay reserved himself as the party’s No. 2 candidate in the September 17 election, according to a proposal published on the party website.

The proposal to keep the same list of Knesset candidates but with an as-yet-unselected new leader is expected to be approved at Wednesday’s Labor convention. It already passed the party’s executive committee, which is made up primarily of Gabbay handpicked loyalists.

“On Tuesday, Gabbay told the executive committee he would not be on the Knesset list, but on Thursday the committee voted on a slate that included him as No. 2, and Gabbay voted for it,” said a source who attended the meeting.

When asked about the proposal, Gabbay’s spokeswoman said “he will update soon.”

Gabbay’s only official statement on Monday praised Tal Rousso, who entered politics with great fanfare as Gabbay’s handpicked No. 2 in February, and who announced on Sunday that he will not be running in the new election.

The former general considered running for Labor leader and for a Knesset seat if Labor activists decide at Wednesday’s convention to elect a new Knesset slate. But he ultimately chose neither option.

“I entered politics four months ago with great plans for changes in Labor and for Israel,” Rousso said. “But the realities of another election and a quick race for Labor chairman do not enable me to accomplish what I had hoped. I don’t want to be part of the leadership battle, so I will not be a candidate for chairman or the 22nd Knesset.”

Rousso will in the meantime remain a member of Knesset, and a member of two active committees. But he will meet with Knesset accountants on Tuesday to ask permission to give up his salary and car and other benefits he receives from the Knesset.

The Knesset did not permit wealthy Likud MK Nir Barkat to not take a salary, so the verdict for Rousso is expected to be the same. Rousso’s spokesman said that if the Knesset forces him to take a salary, he will donate it to charity.
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