Amram Mitzna officially threw his hat into the ring for the Labor Party’s leadership yesterday, declaring that only he could bring the party back to its former glory.
“I am the only candidate who can bring the Labor Party 20 seats and take votes away from Kadima and the Likud,” Mitzna told Haaretz yesterday.
Mitzna is the sixth candidate to join the race, competing against MKs Shelly Yachimovich, Isaac Herzog and Amir Peretz, along with businessman Ariel Margalit and Shlomo Buchbut, who heads the umbrella union for local councils in Israel.
Mitzna said he aims to “return the Labor Party to center stage and a position of influence in order to prevent the establishment of another right-wing government. This is the greatest mission of the next elections and the goal I have given myself.”
Mitzna led Labor in the early part of the last decade, and was head of the party during the 2003 elections, when they only garnered 19 seats, leading to his resignation. Currently the acting mayor of Yeruham, he said he had learned his lesson.
“The day after my victory, I’ll start the revolution,” he said. “Not a change. A revolution. Immediately after I’m elected I’ll begin to run the party and won’t let it scatter to the winds. I will work determinedly and democratically to create [a new] reality in the Labor Party.”
Mitzna plans to make changes that will allow the party’s newer members to have a realistic chance at getting Knesset seats. He also wants to rebuild the party’s ideological, political and economic identity.
Mitzna’s entrance into the crowded race will shuffle the deck, and may harm the chances of Yachimovich and Herzog; they have enjoyed significant support in the big cities and on kibbutzim, sectors where Mitzna is considered a strong candidate.
Mitzna’s successful years in Yeruham have endeared him to the public again.
Mitzna chose to announce his candidacy with a short statement to the media, and then dove deep into the campaign immediately afterwards, with a marathon of interviews capped by a meeting with students in Jerusalem.
“After I left the Knesset in 2005, I devoted the last five years to activities on society’s frontlines, in outlying areas,” he said during his press conference. “Today, I am back and I seek the trust of the members of the Labor Party. I am doing this because the current reality in the state of Israel and Israeli society does not permit me to sit and watch from the sidelines. Everyone who believes in the country must act and I have decided to act. I am convinced in my ability to renew the public’s faith in the Labor Party and represent an ideological and ethical alternative to the voter.”
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