Jerusalem Election: 520,000 Voters – 31 Council Seats

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vote1.jpgThe lists are final and the countdown for the Jerusalem election is well underway. On 11 November, 520,000 eligible voters may cast their ballot for the next mayor of Yerushalayim as well as to select from an impressive lineup of no less than 15 lists towards assembling the next 31-seat Jerusalem City Council.

The confusion surrounding the candidates for mayor has ended and the race is between four contenders, Meir Porush (chareidi), Nir Barkat (secular, lost in last election), Arkadi Gaydamak (secular, the well-known billionaire who gave much tzedaka and bailed out Bikur Cholim Hospital), and director Dan Biron, 68, running under the Green Leaf (marijuana) slate.

Twelve secular lists are competing for council seats. Earlier polls indicated that the chareidi bloc will remain more or less the same, with 14 seats. The National Religious Party/National Union ticket is expected to grow from four to five, giving the religious and right-wing 19 of the 31 council seats.

Parties running in the race include NRP, Meretz (left-wing), Likud, Yerushalayim will Succeed (Barkat), Jerusalem Awakening, Green Leaf, Pisgat Ze’ev on the Map, Yisrael Our Home (Beitenu, Avigdor Lieberman’s Knesset Party), Social Justice (Gaydamak), For the Sake of Yerushalayim, Atid Yerushalayim, Black Panthers and Ohr-Yerukim.

Former Deputy Mayor Chaim Miller, affiliated with the Gerre Chassidus, who lost in the last election, is not running. He explains that with all the problems regarding the chareidi candidate selection process, the non-frum have learned absolutely nothing, which is evident by the increase in the number of lists, working against one another. Actually, the division among the secular is a most welcome reality for the Porush campaign, Shomrei Emunim, realizing the lost votes only serve to strengthen his chances of winning the election.

One now requires 5,000 votes per council seat as compared to 4,600 in the last election. Tens of thousands of votes are expected to be lost poll watchers predict.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)