(July 3, 2019 / JNS) Despite the lowest voter turnout in the history of Labor Party primaries, Knesset member Amir Peretz was chosen Tuesday to lead the once-powerful faction as it gears up for elections in September.
Just 46 percent of Labor’s 65,000 members voted in the primaries, down from 59 percent in July 2017. Voting was extended by an hour due to Ethiopian-Israeli demonstrations going on throughout the country on Tuesday.
When results were tallied, Peretz came out on top with 47 percent or approximately 14,000 votes, followed by 26.9 percent for Knesset member Stav Shaffir and 26.3 percent for Knesset member Itzik Shmuli.
“This is a very exciting evening for me and I feel the weight of my responsibility,” said Peretz after his win was announced. “This evening should bring hope to the hearts of all peace-loving citizens. I thank all those who supported me and the other candidates, Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shaffir, who are an important part of the leadership of this party and the next generation.”
“My blessings to @amirperetz for being elected in the Labor Party primaries,” tweeted Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz. “I wish him good luck in his position. I spoke to him earlier and we agreed to meet sometime soon.”
“Amir, I congratulate you on being elected chairman of the Labor Party and the new path you have set out on,” said former prime minister and newly announced candidate Ehud Barak. “I believe that we can do what is necessary and stand together, together with other forces, in order to bring Israel back on track.”
Peretz served as defense minister under Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.