"Today begins the long journey toward bringing back level-headed, responsible, and experienced leadership to the State of Israel," said newly elected Labor Party Chairman former Prime Minister Ehud Barak in his victory speech Wednesday morning.
Final results showed that Barak won the Labor Party run-off with 51.3 percent of the votes, after receiving 34,542 votes.
"Today our journey together beings," he continued, "In this journey we will seek the uniting, the common, the constructive and the linking factors.
"We will do this out of a sense of mission, and basic commitment to the existence of the Israeli society, and the security of the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish people, its historic fortress, the homeland of our people."
Barak made his speech before the final results were in, and despite accusations of forgeries,
and a petition filed against his camp by candidate MK Ami Ayalon's headquarters to the appeals courts.
Accompanied by Ministers Eitan Cable, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Isaac Herzog, Barak said that "today, the journey of correction beings as well."
"There is no leadership without the public's faith. In days of anxiety, a lack of security, despair and loss of leadership, the Labor Party must take control as the head of the democratic alternative in the State of Israel.
"In our joint path we will march, shoulder-to-shoulder, with our arms joined, with all the constructive powers in the country. We have the best team, the most experienced group that any party in Israeli politics has."
Barak takes the stage (photo: AP)
After thanking outgoing Labor Chairman Amir Peretz, Barak called for the reunification of all Labor Party members, who were divided during the campaign period.
"Members of the Labor Party, I was chosen to lead the mission, but I plan to do it with the wonderful team, along with Ami (Ayalon) and all the other comrades."
"The internal competition has come to its end. Now it is up to each of us to work in our own field. I am talking about investing all our knowledge in strengthening the defense establishment and the IDF and restoring Israel's power of deterrence."
Minister Ben Eliezer, Barak's right-hand man, told Ynet, "Now we need to sort things out with the prime minister, so that Barak can enter the Defense Minister's Office as soon as possible in order to restore security in the State of Israel. At the same time, Barak will work to promote peace."
Shortly after Barak gave his speech, his opponent, MK Ami Ayalon phoned Barak and congratulated him on his victory, while promising to cooperate with the new Labor chairman, saying he would not appeal the results.
Final results showed that Ayalon received 32,117 of the votes (47.7 percent), while 683 of the party's registered voters abstained from voting.