MK Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Union) announced on Sunday that she will run against current Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn for his position leading Israel's biggest labor union in the May 23 election.
The head of the Histadrut is one of the most powerful economic and political players in Israel. Sunday was the deadline for filing candidacy for the five-year term.
To be eligible to run, a candidate must be proposed by one of the current factions represented in the Histadrut's General Assembly. Yachimovich filed her candidacy Sunday after signing an agreement with her Labor colleague MK Eitan Cabel, who agreed to let her run as his faction's (Bayit Hevrati) candidate.
Cabel formed Bayit Hevrati when he decided to run against Nissenkorn in the last election 5 years ago. He claimed on Saturday that people operating on Nissenkorn's behalf threatened his party in an attempt to keep Yachimovich from putting forth her candidature.
In a statement announcing her decision to run, Yachimovich wrote, "I ask you, men and women from across the political spectrum, grant me the right to lead this organization and bring about a revolution in it." She thanked Cabel for putting her forth at his faction's candidate and said that "forceful attempts that could have been taken from House of Cards to prevent us from running" had taken place in an attempt "to avoid democratic elections."
Speaking after his colleague's announcement on Sunday, Cabel criticized Nissenkorn, "who has never been elected to the position, but who inherited it."
Nissenkorn's faction, Ogen, claimed that they were eager for elections against any comer and said that the current chairman's actions "speak for themselves." They noted that Cabel's faction signed an open coalition agreement with Ogen and that making the deal with Yachimovich violated it.
Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog announced on Sunday evening that he was maintaining his endorsement for Nissenkorn, stating that the Labor party that he also leads would work for his success in the election.
Nissenkorn himself commented on Cabel's actions derisively, "We have a guest who shows up one every five years, but we receive guests politely. A guest who comes and goes every five years. He sat in my room ten days ago and again confirmed the agreement between us and the Bayit Hevrati faction. Eitan Cabel gave his blessing without blinking. He sat in my room and unblinkingly lied. He told me, 'Avi, I'm your chief of staff in the Histadrut, your number-one fighter.'
TPS contributed to this report.