The Labor primaries were officially underway Monday with the opening of ballot boxes across the country at 8:30 am. The candidates – Ami Ayalon, Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Ophir Pines and Danny Yatom were making last-minute efforts to bring voters to the ballots and persuade party embers to support them.
Barak boasted about his extensive military career, saying he was the most qualified leader to lead Israel at times of war.
"At this stage there remains nothing but to focus on two things which I want to stress to every activist, local leader, local council leader: think who you want more in times of war. That's the main point. The second thing is that only I can defeat Bibi," Barak said, vowing that he would defeat Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu in future general elections.
Peretz said the army was in a better shape one year after he took office despite its poor performance against Hizbullah last summer.
There is a good reason to allow me to continue in my position. Give me a chance to fulfill what I promised," Peretz said, referring to his pledge to raise the minimum wage and to roll back public spending cuts.
Over 310 ballots will open in 243 polling stations across the country for the 103,498 Labor Party members to elect a new leader.
Ballots will be closed at 9 pm and taken to Petah Tikva for counting.
The turnout is expected to similar to that of last year's primaries, 64.6 percent.