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High Court Orders Nazareth Revote

Accusations of vote rigging and extremely close results force a second poll, 30 days hence.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/11/2014, 12:56 PM

New elections will take place March 11
New elections will take place March 11
Flash 90

High Court President Asher Grunis and Judges Yitzhak Amit and Dafna Barak-Erez decided Tuesday that a revote will be held in the elections for the mayor of Nazareth, in the Galilee.

When voting was over in October, it was initially declared that candidate Ali Salem had defeated incumbent Ramez Jaraisi by 22 votes. Salem was sworn in as mayor, but Jaraisi filed an appeal to the District Court, which determined that certain disqualified votes should be counted. This caused a reversal of the results, with Jaraisi winning the mayoral contest by nine votes.

It was then Salem's turn to appeal to the Magistrates Court, and the matter finally reached the High Court, which decided that the close and contested result must lead to a revote, but added that Salem will continue to serve as mayor for the time being.

The new election will take place March 11.

Interior Minister Gideon Saar (Likud-Beytenu) praised the decision. “The court's decision was the only logical and reasonable way to take, in light of the context,” he wrote.

The city of Beit Shemesh will also hold new elections, a Jerusalem court ruled in December.

Calls for reelections in the city, which lies to the west of Jerusalem, have been highly controversial. Those who called for reelections argued that an attempt at major elections fraud on voting day meant the results of the vote could not be trusted.

On election day itself, police arrested several hareidi men in possession of an estimated 200 fake ID cards, which they had apparently been using to cast fraudulent votes. In addition, several residents testified after the elections that when they had come to vote, they were told that they had already voted.