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Labor’s Avi Gabbay steps down as leader, announces retirement from politics

In a Facebook post, he wrote: “The party is in a great crisis, and I do not absolve myself of responsibility.”

Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay discusses a bill to dissolve the 21st Knesset, May 29, 2019. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay discusses a bill to dissolve the 21st Knesset, May 29, 2019. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

The head of Israel’s Labor Party, Avi Gabbay, announced on Wednesday that he is stepping down as party leader and will retire from politics ahead of the September elections.

“The party is in a great crisis, and I do not absolve myself of responsibility,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

The decision by Gabbay to step down comes as the Labor Party, which dominated Israeli politics for the first few decades of the state’s existence, remains in turmoil over the direction the party will take following the party’s worst-ever showing during the April election where it garnered only six seats.

There have been rumors that left-wing Labor Party may merge with the staunch left-wing Meretz Party ahead of elections.

The party will hold a primary for its leadership on July 2.

Several current and former Labor politicians are expected to vie for the leadership, including Amir Peretz, Stav Shaffir, Itzik Shmuli, Yair Golan and possibly even former Israeli prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak.

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