Labor held its primary elections on Thursday to determine the party's Knesset roster in the next general elections. With Tuesday's computerized fiasco still resonating, Labor's second attempt at the primaries was deemed uneventful.
Official results published Friday morning indicated that Social Affairs Minister Issac Herzog took the first place on Labor's roster after Chairman Ehud Barak, whose position is secured. He was followed by Knesset Members Ophir Pines-Paz and Avishay Braverman.
These are the final results:
- Minister Isaac Herzog – 24,788 votes
- MK Ophir Pines-Paz – 24,336
- MK Avishay Braverman – 22,801
- MK Shelly Yacimovich – 19,650
- Deputy Minister Matan Vilnai - 18,494
- Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer - 17,912
- MK Amir Peretz – 16,881
- Minister Yuli Tamir – 15,869
- Former journalist Daniel Ben-Simon - 15,338
- Dr. Einat Wilf - 10,425
These names are joined by the list of secured places, so the final Knesset list is expected to change. Chairman Barak is secured in the first place, while Secretary-General Eitan Cabel is secured in the seventh position.
According to recent public opinion polls, only the top 10 places are guaranteed to reach the Knesset.
Barak arrived at the party's rally in Tel Aviv's Exhibition Park on Friday morning and said, "We'll prove to the public that this is the best list of all. We have an excellent group. This is the best list for closing the gaps in society."
Secretary-General Eitan Cabel, who was secured in the seventh place, read the results out loud from the stage in a festive manner, despite the grim atmosphere in light of the fact that some of the party leaders, including Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and former Labor Chairman Amir Peretz, did not show up at the event.
Barak addressed the party members: "We have a winning team. Look to your right and to your left. Those who are patient will wait one or two more weeks to see the other teams. I'm telling you, with all the hitchhikers you'll see in Kadima and the Likud, the Labor Party has the best team.
"We are a party which is continuing the way of (former Prime Ministers) Ben-Gurion, Eshkol and Rabin, and we know we are committed to this," Barak added.
"People ask me if we're willing to be in the opposition. Of course we are. If that's what the voter wants, we'll do it. We'll lead the opposition firmly and decisively."
He also spoke of the Labor party's new campaign, saying, "They told me that according to the signs I'm unsympathetic, and Labor may also not seem nice to the public.
"Let's go back to the trend, cross our hands together and convince the public that there's someone to trust. With Labor in the government, there is someone to trust. We'll work together and win together."
Herzog: We can't be erased
MK Pines-Paz congratulated Minister Herzog and the two embraced. "This is my friend and partner," said the winner. "This is a party with an agenda, with an excelling team, with an extremely serious leader."
Asked whether his victory guaranteed that he would lead the Labor Party in the future, Herzog replied, "I don’t like this question because it diverts the attention. We are competing for February 10 (Election Day), and we'll surprise people. There is a serious attempt to erase the Labor Party from national consciousness, and we won't let this happen."
Labor's big winners (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Pines said Friday morning, "The difference between the two of us is very small. I appreciate the fact that he won and I support him."
Addressing Thursday's evacuation of the disputed Hebron house, Pines noted, "Barak proved his leadership yesterday. In the leadership test, (Kadima Chairwoman) Tzipi Livni and Bibi (Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu) have a lot to learn. Those who want a reminder received it yesterday."
Voting stations opened at 12 pm and were closed for the count at 10 pm. The party's 195 stations reported a 58% voter turnout. According to Science, Culture and Sport Minister Raleb Majadele, 78% of the party's Arab members exercised their right to vote.
The fifth, ninth and 19th places were secured for a woman, the 12th place was secured for the moshavim district, the 13th place for the kibbutzim's representative, the 15th place for the Arab sector, the 16th place for the Druze, the 17th place for the neighborhoods' representatives, the 18th place for a new immigrant, and the 20th place was secured for the Sharon and Samaria districts.
Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon won the moshavim seat, MK Orit Noked won the kibbutzim spot, Minister Majadele won among the Arabs, MK Shakib Shanan won among the Druze, MK Leon Litinetsky won among the new immigrants, and MK Yoram Marciano won the race for the neighborhoods' representative.
Majadele threatens to quit again
Minister Majadele announced on Friday that he would convene the party's Arab sector council in order to make a decision on their future in the party. The minister has threatened in recent weeks to leave the party and transfer to an Arab party, but eventually declared he would stay.
In the primary elections Majadele received a vast majority of the Arab sector's votes, securing him a spot that, according to opinion polls, would end up being irrelevant, as the Labor party is only expected to get a maximum of 10 seats in the Knesset.
After the party's positions for representatives of the various sectors were announced, Majadele gave a threatening message at the Arab sector's convention, saying the party had to decide how it was treating representatives of the sector.
At the same convention, the possibility of forming a new Arab party that would bring together former Arab politicians form Labor and other parties was brought up.
MK Shakib Shanan, the Druze representative who was secured the 16th spot on the list, said he was also considering whether to continue in the Labor party, but expressed his doubts on the seriousness of a new Arab list and its ability to succeed in elections.
On the primaries day, Labor voters were requested to decide on the party's Knesset roster using a special form which asked them to check five to eight names, for candidates representing the national list, as well as its regional and sectorial counterparts.
As a lesson learnt from Tuesday's events, the party opted not to use the same computerized system which brought the primaries to a screeching halt, and reverted to the tried and true method of manual ballots.
The party hired private investigators to monitor the various voting stations in order to ensure the purity of the election process. The measure, explained Secretary-General Cabel, was taken in order to avert any malfunctions or falsifications, which the manual voting process is vulnerable to.
Cabel said Friday morning, "Nothing is impossible, and in 24 hours we did something amazing against all odds, with a 54% voter turnout and zero malfunctions. This is a matriculation certificate for the party.
"We elected an excellent team. As far as I am concerned, this is a new start which I believe will beat all polls. We'll reach February 10 with a united front and will reach a great result."