Despite leading her party from an all-time low to become the third largest party in the Knesset, Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich expressed “disappointment” with her faction’s showing in Tuesday voting.
Labor took 15 seats in the election, falling behind only the joint Likud-Beytenu list and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. Yet Yachimovich said that her slate could have done better.
“Fifteen seats in indeed much more than we could have dreamed of six months ago, but disappointing,” she wrote on her official Facebook page in Hebrew. “We wanted more citizens to join us on this complex, but oh so just path we have chosen.”
Some Labor figures have bitterly criticized her handling of the election campaign, in which she marginalized diplomatic issues and focused on the economy, and ruled out serving in a Likud-led government. Labor MK Daniel Ben-Simon said Wednesday that she should step down.
Yachimovich took the reigns of the Labor Party in 2011, when it had only eight Knesset members, following an internal party split in which five members led by former leader Ehud Barak formed a breakaway party. The 13 seats garnered in the 2009 elections were its lowest total ever, representing electoral disillusionment with the left-leaning party.
The Labor head also called on Lapid to resist joining a coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and instead try to form a government of his own, which she would help him do.
“If you choose this path, I will help you, despite the disagreement between us. We can find ways to bridge them,” she wrote. “There is an opportunity to send home Netanyahu, who represents the definite opposite of everything we believe in.”
The plea marked an about face for Yachimovich, who said before the election that she would only sit in a coalition that she headed.
Yachimovich, Lapid and Tzipi Livni, who heads the Hatnua party, had mooted the idea before the election of forming a bloc to keep Netanyahu from being able to form a coalition of 61 seats. But talks between the three fell apart after differences of opinion arose.
On Wednesday, Lapid ruled out the option of forming a blocking majority against Netanyahu, refusing to “rely on the Arab parties.”