Israeli Labor party elects new leader as it faces 'possible extinction' in upcoming elections

Israeli Labor party elects new leader as it faces 'possible extinction' in upcoming elections
2 min read
25 January, 2021
Knesset lawmaker Merav Michaeli is the new leader of Israel's Labor party, which observers say faces possible extinction when Israelis go to the polls in March.
Israel's Labor party won only three seats in March elections [LightRocket]

Merav Michaeli was elected as the leader of Israel’s dwindling Labor party on Sunday, as the country gears up for its nationwide election - the fourth time Israelis go to polls the in two years.

Though Israel's labour party dominated the country's politics for its first 25 years of existence, it suffered a humiliating defeat in March elections, winning only three seats.

Observers say that the party faces possible extinction in the upcoming elections.

Michaeli won her party’s leadership contest by a landslide, seeing off Businessman Avi Shaked –a close associate of former party chairman Amir Peretz – with 77 percent of the vote, according to Haaretz.

8,500 of the party’s 37,000 members eligible to vote participated.

After Peretz took Labor into a Netanyahu-led unity government, Michaeli rejected sitting in the coalition, making her a de facto opposition member within her own party, according to Israeli media.

In her victory speech, Michaeli vowed to rebuild the ailing party, despite recent polling projecting that Labor will not break the electoral threshold required to win seats in the Knesset.

Israel now heads to its fourth national election since March 2019, while facing a runaway coronavirus outbreak, a devastating economic crisis, and a prime minister on trial for corruption.

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