Peretz Seen as Favorite in Labor Runoff

YERUSHALAYIM -
Amir Peretz. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

The Labor/Zionist Camp Party runoff takes place Monday, with contenders Amir Peretz and Avi Gabbay vying for the top spot. Polls close at 9 p.m., and the vote is being conducted electronically — so party members and supporters won’t have to await the results with bated breath for long.

Peretz is the clear favorite in polls that have been conducted over the past few days; outgoing party chairman Yitzchak Herzog and popular MK Erel Margalit, both of them candidates in the primary, have thrown their support to him. Gabbay’s supporters say that while Peretz may be getting support of some of the party’s top officials, the voters were interested in “new blood,” as Peretz has in the past failed to capture the imagination of the voters.

According to pollsters quoted in Haaretz, the number of voters is what is likely to be the deciding factor in the election. Peretz has a well-organized voting effort, but is very dependent on it to get voters out, while Gabbay’s supporters are seen as more likely to go to the polls of their own volition. Peretz’s “machine” needs to function efficiently if he is to win, with the hot weather predicted for Monday likely to discourage many of the older voters he is relying on.

In the first round of voting last week, some 30,000 people cast their vote, 59 percent of all Labor members. If a similar percentage turns out Monday, Gabbay has a good chance of winning, pollsters said.