Meretz to appoint leader June 27, decide on election slate in July

Left-wing party says it won’t hold open primaries, committee will decide on faction chief and candidate list, in a setback for incumbent head Tamar Zandberg

Then-Meretz party leader MK Tamar Zandberg at a faction meeting at the Knesset, on May 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Then-Meretz party leader MK Tamar Zandberg at a faction meeting at the Knesset, on May 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The left-wing Meretz party said Sunday it will not hold primaries, but that committee delegates would appoint a leader for the party and decide its slate for the September 17 elections.

The committee is set to vote on its leader on June 27 and its list on July 11. The two votes will be held within the party committee, which has about 1,000 members, the Ynet news site reported.

The faction made the decision after 60 percent of the party voted against motions to hold open primaries or freeze the current list.

The decision was seen as a failure for incumbent party head Tamar Zandberg, and for the current list of candidates, whose posts are now in jeopardy.

“It’s a first step on the way to renewal and establishing a broad camp, as I promised to do,” Nitzan Horowitz, a former MK from the party who announced that he would run for the leadership post. “I’m convinced that these votes will strengthen Meretz significantly and give it a tailwind ahead of the general elections.”

MK Nitzan Horovitz of Meretz in 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Horowitz served in the Knesset from 2009 to 2015 as a Meretz lawmaker.

The party was said to be mulling a merger with the center-left Labor Party ahead of the September elections.

MK Issawi Frej and former lawmaker Mossi Raz launched a joint bid Wednesday to head the party, saying they were looking to bring it a “shared Arab-Jewish leadership.”

“The Israel left needs hope in the form of true Jewish-Arab partnership. The Arab public gave its trust to Meretz in the last election and now we must strengthen the partnership by building a strong and influential Jewish-Arab left,” Frej wrote in a Facebook post.

In the party’s open primaries before the April elections, held in February, a resounding 86 percent of the left-wing faction’s members voted in its first-ever open primary.

Some 21,000 party members cast ballots in the vote at 131 polling stations across the country.

Meretz barely crossed the electoral threshold in the last election, receiving 3.7% of the national vote and winning four Knesset seats.

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