vrijdag 14 november 2008

Barkat wint burgemeestersverkiezing Jeruzalem

Enkele uitslagen van de burgemeestersverkiezingen in Israel.
Kandidaat Gaydamak in Jeruzalem, die ook Arabische kiezers achter zich probeerde te krijgen, kreeg maar een paar procent van de stemmen.
Secular candidate Barkat, after win: I'll be mayor of all Jerusalemites 
By Jonathan Lis, Yair Ettinger, and Ofra Edelman, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press  
Secular candidate Nir Barkat declared victory over his Haredi rival Meir Porush in the Jerusalem mayoral election early Wednesday, in a race that again exposed the deep divide between religious and secular Israelis.
With all polling stations reporting in the capital, Barkat won 52 percent of the vote versus 43 percent for Porush. Russian billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak ran a distant third with just 3.6 percent.
In his victory speech, Barkat declared himself the mayor of all Jerusalemites, pledging to work for those who had voted for him as well as those who had voted for other candidates. He added that he would be working for both religious and secular, as well as Jewish and Arab residents of the city.
"I'm aware of the depth of the challenge and the complexity of the mission. Now is the time to work together for the good of the city," Barkat, a technology investor and former paratroops officer, told his supporters.
The race in Jerusalem was one of many that captivated the country as Israelis around the country flocked to the polls for Tuesday's municipal elections, with Arab and ultra-Orthodox voter turnout exceeding expectations.
Meanwhile, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai won an additional five-year term in office. With all 646 precincts reporting, Huldai won 50 percent of the vote as opposed to the 34 percent for Hadash MK Dov Khenin. Challenger Oren Shachor placed third.
The victorious Huldai said he was "incredibly privileged to serve as the mayor of Tel Aviv during its centennial."
"The residents of Tel Aviv have made their choice," he added. "Democracy is our strong point. As I've said many times, I know Tel Aviv and its residents well. I'll continue to serve them, driven by my devotion to the city's development."
Huldai's campaign manager Nissim Duek said he was relieved. "We had to face an increasingly fashionable [rival] with very limited resources, contrary to what people might think. Almost all of our rivals ran very aggressive campaigns."
"Dov Khenin did a marvelous job," he added, "but they forgot that Tel Aviv is not just [the bohemian] Rothschild Boulevard."
Aides to Huldai said that 150,000 of the city's residents, which comprise 37.5 percent of all of Tel Aviv's inhabitants, voted on Tuesday. Khenin's campaign expressed satisfaction at the turnout.
"We are certainly happy that this is a higher voter turnout than the previous elections in 2003," Khenin campaign officials said. "Yet, this is still a lower turnout than we would have liked. We are certain that a considerable part of the fact that the campaign was galvanized in recent months is to our credit."
Conceding defeat, Khenin said that he "remains committed to municipal action."
"We had to deal with malicious allegations and spins, but insisted on running a decent campaign," he said. "The elections made me very optimistic. I got to know many people who are willing to do a lot to improve their situation."
In Be'er Sheva, incumbent Ya'akov Terner lost to his former deputy Rubik Danilovich. Terner won just 30 percent of the vote versus 60 percent for Danilovich. With most polling stations reporting in Haifa, incumbent mayor Yona Yahav holds a 10-point lead over Ya'akov Borovsky.
Most of the candidates in cities and local councils cast their ballots just a short time after polling stations opened. Afterwards, they devoted their efforts to last-minute campaigning.
As the polls closed at 10:00 P.M. local time, the nationwide voter turnout stood at 40 percent. At least 36 percent of those eligible to vote cast their ballots in Tel Aviv; 41 percent voted in Jerusalem; Haifa saw a 35 percent turnout; Be'er Sheva's voter turnout reached 40.7 percent; and in Kiryat Shmona, which is fielding nine candidates for mayor, the voter turnout stands at 33 percent.
Arab and ultra-Orthodox voter turnout is hovering around 30 percent. In the southern town of Lakia, voter turnout reached 59 percent. The turnout in Netanya, though, stood at 7 percent.

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