Labor leader Avi Gabbay will not seek to retain leadership of the party in next month’s primary race, he announced Tuesday.
“To my supporters, to my friends, to my partners, and to my dear loved ones, I want to inform you that I will not be running for leadership of the party in the elections which will be held next month,” Gabbay said on Facebook.
The decision, he said, was the next logical step in light of Labor’s poor showing in the April 9 general election, which saw the party dwindle to just six mandates.
Labor’s primary election is scheduled to take place on July 2.
Gabbay was reportedly offered a deal within the party whereby the No. 2 slot on its list would be reserved for him if he declined a primary run. The Labor central committee was expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday.
His announcement came a day after Knesset member Tal Russo, number two on Labor’s Knesset slate and a key Gabbay ally, told supporters he was retiring from politics.
In a post on his Facebook page, Russo wrote: “I entered politics about four months ago with big plans to make changes in the Labor party and, no less, the State of Israel. In the reality in which we find ourselves, party primaries and the selection of a new party leader so close together do not allow me to do the things I so hoped to do. I do not want to be part of the battle for succession, so I’m revoking my candidacy for the position of Labor leader and from the list for the 22nd Knesset.”
Russo expressed his thanks to the party members and to the “public at large” for their support.
“I will continue to work for the public good in other ways. Good luck to us all,” he ended his message.