Race Shapes Up for Meretz Leadership

Meretz MK Ilan Gilon (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Meretz party will be holding its first-ever primaries in March, and the field of contestants is filling out.

Avi Buskila, head of Peace Now, announced on Sunday that he will leave his current position to run for the leadership of the left-wing party, joining MK Tamar Zandberg and faction chairman MK Ilan Gilon in a bid to succeed longtime Meretz leader Zehava Galon, who will also be running.

The decision to have open primaries, which Galon had advocated for some time, was agreed to by the party leaders last week. The date was set for March 22.

Until now, Meretz chose its chairperson in a two-stage process, whereby party members elected delegates to the top committee, which then selected the Knesset list. The purpose of the change is to broaden the party’s appeal.

Galon has called on disgruntled members of the Labor Party to join Meretz.

Galon said she was discussing party shifts with unnamed members of Labor, saying that current party head Avi Gabbay has “signaled to many that they are not wanted in their own party,” referring to recent statements catering to the center-right, such as a promise not to dismantle Israeli communities in a future peace settlement.

“I am certainly telling them to come to Meretz, now it’s possible,” she said, according to the Times of Israel. “Together, we will build up the leftist camp.”

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