Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay on Tuesday named MK Shelly Yachimovich ‎as head of the opposition, replacing Tzipi Livni. The nomination ‎came just hours after Gabbay abruptly dissolved the Zionist ‎Union faction, his party’s alliance with Livni’s Hatnuah Party, ‎effectively ousting Livni from the role. ‎

‎“I am proud of Shelly. She is a terrific MK who leads determined ‎struggles in and out of the Knesset,” said Gabbay. “Shelly filled the ‎role of opposition leader in the past and did so well. She will help us ‎prepare for the election and for victory.”‎

Yachimovich said she ‎would work to galvanize the opposition, ‎adding, “We will work together toward the goal of replacing the ‎government with one that pursues peace, fights socio-economic ‎gaps and respects democracy and the rule of law.”‎

She further said Gabbay dismissing Livni was “a brave act of ‎leadership” as Livni “refused to accept Gabbay’s leadership and ‎weakened the party.”‎

Meanwhile, many in Labor who agreed with the split from Hatnuah ‎were critical of Gabbay for choosing to announce it in a live ‎press conference, clearly blindsiding Livni.‎

Gabbay, whose approval ratings within the party have plummeted ‎since he was elected in July 2017, also evoked Labor members’ ire ‎by not consulting with anyone prior to announcing the dissolution ‎of Zionist Union; some even called him a “dictator.” ‎

‎“That’s not how you do things, especially things like this,” a senior ‎Labor lawmaker said. “You can’t run a democratic party that has ‎set institutions like a one-man show, like a dictatorship.‎

‎“I have no doubt that if there was a constitutional way [in Labor] to ‎remove Gabbay as chairman and name another party ‎leader, we would have done so a long time ago, and certainly in ‎light of what he did today [Tuesday],” he said.

The official further predicted that Gabbay’s chances of winning the Feb. 12 Labor ‎primaries were low, as under his leadership the party’s public ‎standing has deteriorated to an unprecedented low. ‎

Another party insider said, “There’s no teamwork. He doesn’t ‎consult with anyone. What he did [dissolving Zionist Union] was ‎just stupid. Most party members think so, but they’re afraid of ‎saying so because it could hurt the party further.”‎

Briefing faction members on the move on Tuesday Gabbay justified ‎his actions saying Livni became a “political and personal liability.”‎

‎“What I did was a move that, as far as I was concerned, freed us ‎from this burden. … Tzipi’s voters are already in [Israel Resilience ‎Party leader] Benny Gantz’s pocket. We did not lose anything, we ‎just ridded ourselves of a problem,” he said. ‎

Veteran Labor MK Eitan Cabel retorted, “I don’t want to talk about ‎the shaming you imposed on Tzipi without her knowledge or our ‎knowledge. But this move was a mistake. You do whatever you ‎want without consulting anyone? You decide for all of us? This ‎party was established long before you came along. This isn’t a ‎private business you own. You think this will somehow see the ‎party bounce back to 24 seats in the polls? You had no legitimacy ‎to make such a decision without asking us.”‎

Others expressed concerns that Labor, which was projected to win ‎eight Knesset seats had Zionist Union continued to exist, will drop ‎below the 3.25 percent electoral threshold following Gabbay’s move and find itself out of the Knesset altogether.