Meretz nixes primaries going into year’s third national election
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Meretz nixes primaries going into year’s third national election

Party leaders are reported to have decided that a new vote would be unnecessary and costly

Meretz party chairman Nitzan Horowitz, center, attends a protest of the LGBTQ community in Tel Aviv, July 14, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Meretz party chairman Nitzan Horowitz, center, attends a protest of the LGBTQ community in Tel Aviv, July 14, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The left-wing Meretz party does not intend to hold new primaries to determine its electoral slate ahead of next March’s parliamentary elections, having held its first-ever party vote on Knesset candidates earlier this year.

Meretz chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz and former chief MK Tamar Zandberg agreed to maintain the slate of candidates they presented in both of 2019’s ultimately inconclusive elections, with both considering a new internal vote unnecessary, costly and potentially harmful for the party.

Meretz held its first party primary this February in an effort to boost enthusiasm and participation among activists and supporters. The party hoped that such a move would expand the reach of the dwindled and sidelined political left.

The party is currently part of the Democratic Camp, an alliance composed of Meretz, the Israel Democratic Party and the Green Movement. Democratic Camp head Nitzan Horowitz was recently reported to be in talks with Labor chairman Amir Peretz regarding the possibility of a joint left-wing slate, but Peretz, eager to recruit center-right voters, has balked at such a move.

An opinion poll published last Friday showed that the center-left Labor-Gesher would match its current total of six seats in the next election, while the Democratic Camp would drop from five to four.

Israelis will head to the polls for the third time in under a year on March 2 after both previous rounds of elections failed to produce a governing coalition — a first in Israeli political history.

MK Gideon Sa’ar is set to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a primary for the leadership of the ruling Likud Party on December 26. The vote marks the first real challenge to Netanyahu’s leadership of the party in 14 years, although the incumbent prime minister is still expected to defeat his challenger handily.

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