Labor MKs Likely to Get Free Vote in Presidential Election

Decision to allow free vote follows the withdrawal from the contest of Labor candidate Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.

Labor Leader Isaac Herzog speaks at a special opposition meeting in the Knesset, March 11, 2014.
Labor leader Isaac Herzog. Olivier Fitoussi

The Labor Party is on Monday expected to adopt the recommendation of party chairman Isaac Herzog to allow its Knesset members a free vote in Tuesday's election for the next president.

Click here to read about the five candidates in the presidential election.

Since Benjamin Ben-Eliezer dropped out of the race on Saturday, party members have been trying to determine whether they could coalesce around one of the remaining candidates. Herzog at one point proposed getting the entire opposition to unite behind one candidate, but that effort was dropped.

Ben-Eliezer withdrew from the contest on Saturday after being questioned under caution by police regarding suspicions that he received hundreds of thousands of dollars of illicit funding.

At least five Labor MKs are now expected to support former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner. Three others, including Shelly Yacimovich and Mickey Rosenthal, have promised their support to Reuven Rivlin. The other MKs will likely scatter their votes among the other candidates.

All the candidates are expected to be circulating in the Knesset on Monday in an effort to pick up additional supporters. MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnuah) is trying to expand his base of support among Yesh Atid MKs, while Dorner is expected to hold marathon meetings with MKs from Shas, Hadash, and Yisrael Beiteinu.

Prof. Dan Shechtman, who has yet to get the public support of any MK, is expected to hold a press conference this afternoon to sum up his campaign and assess his chances.