Leader of Israeli Labor party to be decided in run-off
Results of the Israeli Labor party primaries released early this
morning showed that neither of the two leading candidates, Ehud Barak and Ami
Ayalon, received the 40 percent threshold to win an outright victory, leaving
the future party-head to be decided in a run-off in June.
Israeli media, with ballots from 99.7 percent of voting stations tallied, the
results awarded former Prime Minister Ehud Barak the victory of yesterday's
ballot with 35.7 percent, while the former head of Shin Bet (Israel Security
Agency) Ami Ayalon with 30.7 percent.
But neither of the two received the 40
percent threshold to win in a single round of balloting, which means the race
between Barak and Ayalon will not end until a run-off is held next
Current Labor Chairman and Defense Minister Amir Peretz gained the
support of 22.3 percent of the voters in the campaign, and the other two
candidates garnered less than 10 percent of the votes.
opened at 8:30 a.m (0530GMT) and closed at 9:00 p.m. (1800GMT). Up to 65.5
percent of the 103,498 eligible voters turned out to vote for their preferred
With 19 seats in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), Labor is the
most important coalition partner of Kadima.
However, in the wake of a highly
critical government report on Israeli leaders' performance during last summer's
conflict in Lebanon, both Barak and Ayalon have pledged to seek change of the
head of government, if they are elected to lead the party.
Ayalon said that
he would lead the party out of the current coalition government presided by
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, if Olmert's Kadima Party didn't choose a new
Barak, meanwhile, has said that he would serve temporarily in the
Olmert government, but would work within the parliament to topple the Israeli
leader and call for early elections.
If Labor withdrew from the current
coalition government, Olmert would have to seek replacements amongst the Knesset
factions to keep the coalition in place.