Former Meretz chief Zehava Galon to launch fresh bid to lead party — report

According to Kan, the ex-chairwoman has been convinced by officials that her return to leadership could be key to the party’s survival

Zehava Galon speaks at a launch event of the 'Mehazkim' movement in Tel Aviv on August 24, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Zehava Galon speaks at a launch event of the 'Mehazkim' movement in Tel Aviv on August 24, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Former Meretz leader Zehava Galon has decided to run in the left-wing party’s upcoming primaries, according to a Friday report.

Kan news said Galon is expected to announce she is running against Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan in the coming days in a bid to lead the party into the November election.

Galon led the party between 2012 and 2018, departing politics before the 2019 election that started Israel’s ongoing period of political instability and repeated elections. Current leader Nitzan Horowitz announced in recent days he would not seek to lead the party into the November 1 election.

According to Kan, several party officials contacted Galon in recent weeks in an attempt to persuade her to rejoin politics and lead the party again. Meretz has been struggling in the polls, slipping extremely close to or even under the electoral threshold. Galon was convinced after being told that the pro-Benjamin Netanyahu camp would have a majority to establish the next government if Meretz does not cross the threshold, the report said.

The report added that Galon supports a merger with the Labor party ahead of the elections.

Deputy Economy and Industry Minister Yair Golan announces that he plans to challenge Nitzan Horowitz for the leadership of the Meretz party in the upcoming primaries, during a press conference in Tel Aviv, July 6, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Earlier Friday, former party leader and Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg announced that she was taking a break from politics and would not compete in the upcoming elections, after nine years in the Knesset.

Zandberg, a senior member of Meretz, led the party for a brief period between 2018 and 2019 before being ousted by Horowitz. Horowitz, the health minister, announced Tuesday that he was stepping down from the party’s leadership, but would still run for a Knesset seat.

Meanwhile, Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej announced last week that he too would be stepping down, bringing an end to a 10-year-long career with the party.

The outspoken Frej blamed Horowitz for his inability to keep rebel MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi in line, arguing that he had “failed the leadership test.”

Rinawie Zoabi briefly quit the coalition in May and later helped sink a bill key to the coalition’s survival, contributing to the government’s collapse.

Recent polling projects that Meretz would win four seats in the next election, down from the six it won in 2021, with some surveys predicting it may not pass the 3.25% electoral threshold. A recent poll showed Meretz led by Galon could win six seats in the election.

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