Ehud Barak narrowly defeated Ami Ayalon in Israel’s Labor Party leadership election, TV exit polls showed. Israel’s Channel 1 television cited results in Tuesday’s ballot as indicating that Barak, the former prime minister, winning 52 percent of the votes to 48 percent for Ayalon, a retired admiral and Shin Bet chief. Channel 2 and Channel 10 had Barak winning but by a closer margin. A final tally is expected Wednesday morning.The Barak campaign reacted with cautious optimism to the results. Ayalon’s campaign said all the polls were within the 4.5 percent margin of error. His associates said they would appeal the results in several Arab and Druse towns, citing forgeries and incidents of violence. “The towns we complained about have more than 600 votes,” an Ayalon associate said, The Jerusalem Post reported. “That’s enough to change the outcome of the election. We don’t plan to let Barak steal the election.”About two-thirds of Labor’s 103,498 members came out to vote.
Exit polls see Barak Labor victory