Barak-Ayalon race close


Israel’s Ehud Barak has lost his lead in the Labor Party leadership race, polls showed.

A survey published Thursday by Ha’aretz showed the former prime minister with 43 percent of the  votes in next week’s Labor runoff and ex-admiral Ami Ayalon with 47 percent. A separate poll in Ma’ariv also projected a narrow Ayalon victory, with political analysts assuming that most undecided Labor voters will swing his way.

Though both polls had a 4.5 percent margin of error, their results suggested an erosion in support for Barak, who won the first round of the Labor election last week with 36 percent of votes.

Ayalon has since been endorsed by the outgoing party chief, Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Barak, in turn, received the backing of two former rivals in the Labor race, Ophir Pines-Paz and Danny Yatom.

There were 506 respondents for the Ha’aretz poll and 402 for Maariv.

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