Matan Vilnai tops Labor list; Yossi Beilin and other doves out (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Yossi Verter, Ha´aretz Correspondent, Ha´aretz Service and Itim 12/10/02 22:46)
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Matan Vilnai was the top vote-getter in the Labor Party primary to
determine the list of Knesset candidates ahead of the January 28
elections, according to the final results announced just after 5 P.M.
Tuesday from Kfar Sava.
Following Vilnai, who strongly backed party chairman Amram Mitzna in
the recent Labor Party leadership race, were Knesset Speaker Avraham
Burg and former trade and industry minister Dalia Itzik, while
Labor´s leading dove, Yossi Beilin, looked to have been demoted to an
unrealistic spot on the list.
The top ten includes: 1-Matan Vilnai, 2-Avraham Burg, 3-Dalia Itzik,
4-MK Ephraim Sneh, 5-Yuli Tamir; 6-Yitzhak Herzog, 7-MK Haim Ramon, 8-
Danny Yatom, 9-Eitan Cabel, and 10-MK Avraham Shochat.
But this is not the order of the Labor list of Knesset candidates,
since the first three slots are already reserved for Labor Party
Chairman Amram Mitzna, MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and MK Shimon Peres,
and the Labor Party uses a system of reserved slots, intended to
ensure diversity on the list.
Beilin finished 11th in the primary, but due to reserved slots, he
was pushed down to the 36th slot on the list of Knesset candidates.
MK Ephraim Sneh, one Ben-Eliezer´s closest associates, denied that
members of the former Labor chairman´s camp acted to eliminate Beilin
from the list. "The fact that Yossi didn´t get accept Ben-Eliezer as
chairman of the party and established a political bloc outside the
Labor Party, is what caused him problems," Sneh said.
Labor faction chairman Effi Oshaya proposed Tuesday morning that
Beilin be moved up the list. "Beilin is among the most important
people in the Labor Party," he said.
Ben-Eliezer called the Labor list "diverse" and representative of the
center. "This list, which speaks to those in the center, is
definitely diverse," Ben-Eliezer said.
The former party chief and defense minister also expressed
satisfaction over Beilin´s ouster.
"There was a fear that [Labour´s candidate roster] would
symbolise the radical left," Ben-Eliezer, in a clear reference to
Beilin, told reporters after the results were in. "Thank God it ended
Writer Eli Amir who was trying to make it into the Knesset for the
first time - and was the lone candidate who Mitzna strongly backed -
finished twelfth. MK Tzali Reshef, a founder of Peace Now was also
low down on the list, at number 14, making it highly unlikely he will
be in the next Knesset.
The third slot reserved for women was taken by MK Colette Avital, and
not MK Yael Dayan, who finished 15th in the primary, and was placed
in the 39th slot on the list of Knesset candidates.
Meretz Chairman MK Yossi Sarid said that Meretz was the natural home
for Laborites like Beilin, Yael Dayan and Tzali Reshef, and for
everyone who wants to end the occupation, evacuate the settlements
and found an Israeli society based on social justice. Sarid spoke
with Beilin, but after the conversation, it was estimated that there
was slim chance of Beilin running on the Meretz list, as the deadline
for political parties to present their list of Knesset candidates is
The Labor Party list of Knesset candidates for the January 28 general
election, from numbers one through 25, is as follows:
1-Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna, 2-former Labor Party chairman MK
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, 3-MK Shimon Peres, 4-Matan Vilnai, 5-MK Avraham
6-MK Dalia Itzik (reserved for female candidate), 7-MK Opher Pines-
Paz (reserved for Labor Party secretary general), 8-MK Ephraim Sneh,
9-Yuli Tamir (reserved for female candidate), 10-Yitzhak Herzog,
11-MK Haim Ramon, 12-Danny Yatom, 13-MK Eitan Cabel, 14-MK Rabbi
Michael Melchior (reserved for Meimad Party), 15-MK Avraham Shochat,
16-MK Colette Avital (reserved for female candidate), 17-MK Shalom
Simhon (reserved for moshavim representative), 18-Orit Noked
(reserved for kibbutz representative), 19-MK Eli Ben-Menachem
(reserved for disadvantaged neighborhoods), 20-Jalab Majadla
(reserved for Arab representative),
21-MK Salah Tarif (reserved for Druze representative), 22-MK Sofi
Landau (reserved for new immigrants), 23-MK Weizman Shiri (reserved
for Negev representative), 24-MK Avi Yechezkel (reserved for central
district), and 25-MK Effi Oshaya (reserved for Sharon-Samaria
Recount of three districts delays final results
Release of the final results had been scheduled for earlier in the
day, but with almost all the votes counted, a recount was ordered in
three sectors and localities - the northern district, Haifa district
and the Druze sector. Secretary-general of the party, MK Ophir Pines-
Paz, told Channel Two that the recount was due to technical problems,
and not because of any suspicions of irregularities in the vote.
54 percent turnout
Some 54 percent of Labor members voted in Monday´s primary. The most
enthusiastic of the voters were in Tel Aviv where there was a 68
percent turnout, closely followed by 65 percent in the moshav
district of the party. The Arab sector yielded 40 percent of the
registered Labor voters and the Druze sector saw 42 percent vote.
Haifa, hometown of the party chairman, turned out 53 percent of its
registered Labor voters, Jerusalem 46 percent, and in the northern
district, 45 percent turned out. The largest individual sector in the
party, with some 17,000 registered voters, is the United Kibbutz
Movement, and 60 percent of them voted.
Polling stations opened Monday at 10 A.M. for the primaries, in which
some 110,000 party members were eligible to vote. Some polling
stations were kept open past the 9 P.M. closing time due to harsh
weather conditions and long lines.
Despite much talk about clashes between candidates backed by Mitzna -
who refrained from supporting any candidate except for Amir - and
former chairman Ben-Eliezer, who made no secret of his support for
certain candidates, there was a general consensus in the party that
the type of "deals" evident at the Likud´s central committee vote the
previous night, would not be effective, due to the fact that all
Labor members were eligible to vote.
The counting took place at a computerized headquarters set up for the
purpose in Rishon Letzion. (© Copyright 2002 Ha´aretz 12/10/02)
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