Two of the three challengers for chairman of the Histadrut labor federation had their candidacies suspended by the union’s central election committee on Monday night, leaving only incumbent Ofer Eini in the race for now.

The committee told MK Amir Peretz and MK Eitan Cabel that they could not run for the chairman position, although they were granted a hearing. Officials are investigating a series of problems that surfaced when they checked the nomination process.

Amir Peretz (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Amir Peretz (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

The committee said it suspects up to a third of the signatures collected by the two were forged, and that over 1,200 of those who appeared to have signed their name in support of Cabel are ineligible to vote in the upcoming elections. It also found that some people signed for both of candidates, automatically disqualifying those signatures.

A hearing will be held by the committee later in the week, and both Peretz and Cabel will present their arguments. On Monday night, their focus was the incumbent, Eini, who they blamed for their suspensions.

In response to the decision, Cabel said that Eini had lost his mind. “After he announced seven labor disputes in one day, he stopped elections and disqualified all the nominees,” Cabel said.

Peretz, who headed the Histadrut between 1997 and 2006, also responded harshly. Eini’s actions “resemble non-democratic regimes,” his attorney Eyal Alon said. He added that it is troubling that such decisions seem politically motivated.