In an event that could have a serious bearing on the future of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, members of the Israeli Labour Party are set to vote on the election of a new leader.Other than deciding upon a new leader, Monday’s election could also have a serious bearing on the political future of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as the victor in the election will have decide on whether the Labour Party should leave or remain a part of Olmert’s coalition government.
The current leader of the Labour Party and Defence Minister Amir Peretz has come under heavy criticism for his role in the Lebanon war and as such, currently lies in third place in the race.
The two front-runners in the race, former PM Ehud Barak and the former chief of Shin Bet Ami Ayalon, have both confirmed that, in the event of their victory, they would remove the Labour Party from Olmert’s coalition unless the current PM were to stand down in light of the findings of the Winograd commission.
Polls published on Sunday suggest that the relatively inexperienced Ayalon currently leads the race with 32.3%, closely followed by Barak at 30.2%. Peretz, the serving leader, lies in third place with 14.7% of the vote.
Many fear the collapse of the current government should Ayalon or Barak triumph, a collapse that would be advantageous to a number of right-wing movements and political figures, none more so than Binyamin Netanyahu.
Just over 100,000 party members are set to vote in Monday’s elections. Should no-one receive the required 40% of the vote, a further round of elections will be held a fortnight later.