Gabbay Consolidates Power in Labor Party

Labor party leader Avi Gabbay. (Flash90)

Recently-elected chairman of Israel’s Labor party, Avi Gabbay, succeeded in a move to consolidate power, as members voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to grant him control over finances and some of the positions on the party’s electoral slate.

Labor’s endless internal strife has been blamed as a major cause of its inability to retake the government from the Likud, a situation which Gabbay used to justify his request for greater control.

“If we can’t bring unity to our party, the public will not believe we can bring unity to Israel,” said Gabbay at the convention in Tel Aviv to decide on his proposals. “If we aren’t able to change, why should the public believe we can change the country?”

Gabbay will be entitled appoint four candidates for the party list, two of whom may be in the top 10, while the other two may be included anywhere between numbers 10-30 on the slate. The candidates need not be members of the Labor party upon their selection, nor do they need to have run in the Labor primaries, according to the new rules.

Gabbay will wield authority over the party’s budget and financial affairs, allowing him to direct the party’s next political campaign. In the event Labor should win and be tasked with forming a government, the incumbent chairman will be solely responsible for appointing ministers, after consulting with other party officials.