A new party has been formed by Ephraim Sneh, a former Labor Knesset member (MK). The party will be known as Yisrael Hazaka (“Strong Israel”). Other Labor party members, although not MKs, have joined the party.
Sneh has resigned his Knesset seat, to be replaced by Druze party activist Shakib Shanan.
The Haaretz story (linked above) also notes, updating an item of note here previously:
In addition, the Green Party asked Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz several months ago to head the party, and Labor officials think he could accept the offer.
This development is also of interest to me because of Shanan’s entry into parliament:
Shanan, 45, is an educator who lives in the western Galilee. As No. 20 on the Labor list, he almost got into the Knesset, but an appeal over the election results gave the party 19 seats instead of the 20 it had first appeared to have won, and Shanan did not make it into the chamber.
He was thus a first loser, a category of politician I have particular (peculiar?) interest in, along with last losers. Generally, we might imagine that parties have reasonably good information about how many seats they might win, give or take a seat or two. Thus the marginal candidates are of special interest in terms of what their nomination (to a given rank on a closed list), but uncertain election, might signal to whatever constituencies they might represent. I previously commented on a similar case with respect to the Shas list after the 2006 election.
Of course, that Shanan has now made it into parliament is a reminder that some (many?) first losers ultimately do serve, as most list systems replace members who leave early with the next available candidate on the original list. Given that a new election is looking more and more likely some time in 2009, this is rather late in the life of this Knesset, but it’s a seat for a marginal candidate at the last election, and representative of the Druze community.