Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay announced Wednesday that he will not run in the next election and in fact, is leaving politics altogether, just two years after being elected to the post.
In a post on Facebook, Gabbay wrote, “The party is in a great crisis and I do not absolve myself of responsibility.” Labor had its worst showing ever in the most recent election, winning a total of only six seats this past April.
The fact that four of those on the party’s Knesset list were former party leaders, he wrote, has caused numerous problems within the ranks – and he doesn’t want to be “part of that same phenomenon.”
It is because of the constant “internal disputes, the incessant naval-gazing, a lack of mutual loyalty and the fact that we are seen by the public as being only about the politics,” he wrote, that Labor has lost its ability to attract votes even though he is convinced the Israeli public does agree with the party’s positions.
Gabbay is expected to remain a Knesset member for the time being in any case, at least during the four-month recess prior to elections, and continuing to collect his legislative salary. Not that he needs the extra money, however: Gabbay is also a successful businessperson.
Labor also won’t miss him: Labor MK Itzik Shmueli has already announced he hopes to become the new leader of the party on July 2, well in advance of Israel’s upcoming national elections on September 17.
Shmueli said in his announcement on Wednesday that he intends to lead the Labor party to “a new hope-filled chapter,” saying he represents the “greatest opportunity for alliances and for many to once again believe in Labor.”
Both MKs Stav Shaffir and Amir Peretz are also intending to run for the top post in the party; but former prime minister Ehud Barak is reportedly considering a run as well, as is former IDF chief of staff Yair Golan, and former Knesset members Eitan Cabel, Danny Atar and Danny Yatom.