Sunday, October 27, 2013

Local election results

There are a few conclusions that can be drawn from the results of the Israeli local elections. Very few people bothered to vote, the numbers were down from last time, with only 30-40% of those eligible voting in most localities. Why this should be the case is unclear, since the local government may have more impact on individual citizens than the national one? Yet, this is a trend all around the world. To counteract this it is recommended that the local and national elections be held together.

Incumbents won, in almost every race the incumbents won in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheva and Netanya, and often by wide margins. Even in Beth Shemesh, where there was a closely fought election, the incumbent won, although by a small margin. In this case, electoral fraud has been charged and the loser has gone to court to have the results investigated. In Nazareth, where there was a three-way race, the incumbent won and the challenger, the extreme Palestinian nationalist Hanan Zoabi, who resigned from the Knesset to run, received only a small vote.

Being indicted for corruption and illegal activities does not prevent you being elected. Three out of four Mayors who have been indicted for criminal activities, but who were allowed to stand again for election, since they are innocent until proven guilty, were re-elected as Mayor. In other words, the electorate ignored the charges against them, very strange. Now there is a move to pass a law that would prevent people who are under indictment from standing until the charges have been tested in a court of law. Meanwhile three Mayors who are potentially going to jail have been re-elected! But, if they actually are found guilty then they will be forced to resign from their positions.

One loser in the elections was Avigdor Lieberman, the Head of the Israel Beitanu Party that has joined with Likud to form a joint list. He supported Moshe Lion as the challenger to incumbent Mayor Nir Barkat in Jerusalem, and since Lion and at least one other candidate supported by Lieberman was defeated, this is a net loss for Lieberman. How it will affect his subsequent electoral chances is unknown. Similarly several candidates supported by Shas were not elected, so this might be the beginning of the decline of Shas after the death of its founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Local elections can have repercussions in national politics.


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