Former Meretz leader Zandberg takes No. 2 slot in party vote
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Former Meretz leader Zandberg takes No. 2 slot in party vote

Left-wing party’s central committee picks experienced lawmakers over upstarts to lead its slate ahead of September 17 race, signaling desire for stability

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg arrives to cast her vote in party primaries at a polling station in Tel Aviv on July 11, 2019. (Flash90)
Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg arrives to cast her vote in party primaries at a polling station in Tel Aviv on July 11, 2019. (Flash90)

The left-wing Meretz party placed its recently deposed leader Tamar Zandberg second on the party’s Knesset slate ahead of the September election, in an internal primary vote Thursday.

Voting was open only to the party’s roughly 1,000 central committee members, over fears that a full-fledged primary would be too costly so soon after the previous election in April.

Over 800 votes were cast in the race, with the party reporting 85.3 percent turnout.

New party leader Nitzan Horowitz, a former Meretz MK, was elected to the top slot two weeks ago in a separate race, ousting Zandberg after just over a year as leader.

After Horowitz and Zandberg come longtime MK Ilan Gilon, then Issawi Frej, former MK Mossi Raz, and Michal Rozin in the sixth slot, the party said Thursday.

Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz arrives to cast his vote in the party’s primaries at a polling station in Tel Aviv on July 11, 2019. (Flash90)

The party won just four seats in the April 9 election, and isn’t polling above five at the moment.

The results suggest a desire for stability among the party faithful, as serving and former MKs handily beat out newcomers and upstarts.

“We have an excellent, experienced team,” Horowitz said in a statement after the results were announced.

The list includes “women and men, Jews and Arabs, from the center [of the country] and its periphery,” he went on.

“The public no longer buys the illusions of the last election; the left has awakened, is growing strong, and is coming home.”

Meretz has reportedly been in talks with Labor and other left-wing parties to run as a joint left-wing bloc on election day.

Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz poses with party MK Ilan Gilon at a polling station in Tel Aviv on July 11, 2019, as the party’s central committee votes on its slate for the 22nd Knesset. (Flash90)

The primary comes a day after the party launched its September campaign, with the slogan, “This time, Meretz.”

It said it will emphasize its commitment to bridging social fractures, fighting discrimination against women, Arabs and the LGBT community, seeking peace with the Palestinians, and tackling economic inequality.

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