Jerusalem mayoral election headed for runoff

After 80% of the votes in Jerusalem counted, Moshe Lion and Ofer Berkovitch each receive 30%.

Elad Benari , | updated: 8:45 AM

Jerusalem mayoral candidate Ofer Berkovitch
Jerusalem mayoral candidate Ofer Berkovitch
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

With the votes counted in Tuesday’s municipal elections in Jerusalem, Moshe Lion has emerged as the winner, narrowly beating out Ofer Berkovitch by points, 33% to 29%.

As the election requires an absolute majority, Lion and Berkovitch will now compete in a runoff election in two weeks.

Following Lion and Berkovitch were Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who received 20% of the vote. The haredi candidate, Yossi Deitch won 17%, and Avi Salman received 0.8% of the vote.

Lion told the hundreds of activists who came to his election headquarters in Talpiot, "The results are great, my friends and I are happy. Jerusalem is my life's mission. If there is no victory in the first round, then there will be in the second round."

In Tel Aviv, a counting of 27,000 votes indicates that 41% of the votes were given to incumbent Mayor Ron Huldai and 35% to his deputy Asaf Zamir. The other two candidates - Natan Elnatan and Assaf Harel - received less than 14% of the vote.

Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan was reelected in Tuesday's vote, as was Hevron Hills Council head Yochai Dimri.

With ballots cast by soldiers and disabled voters still being counted, Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul appeared on track to win a third term, narrowly leading Aliza Bloch by a razor-thin 251 vote margin, 21,750 votes to Bloch's 21,499. The final results for the race are expected to be released tomorrow.

According to an exit poll published by Radio Haifa shortly after the polls closed, Einat Kalisch-Rotem will be the city’s new mayor, having received 57.8% of the vote, while incumbent Yona Yahav received only 35.8%.

11,000 polling stations in 251 municipalities across the country were closed at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening. 3,662,115 citizens participated in the local elections. The voter turnout was 55%, about 10% higher than the voter turnout in the 2013 elections.

The voter turnout in Tel Aviv was 42.97%, in Haifa 45.37%, and in Jerusalem 34.9%.