Lupolianski is capital´s first Haredi mayor - Religious parties now hold 18 of 31 seats on council (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Jonathan Lis 06/05/03)
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Ultra-Orthodox candidate and acting Mayor Uri
Lupolianski (Degel Hatorah) overcame independent
businessman Nir Barkat to emerge yesterday as
Jerusalem´s mayor for the next five years.
Lupolianski won 51.39 percent of the ballots cast
in the mayoral election in the capital on Tuesday,
while Barkat mustered the support of 42.49 percent
of the voters.
Tuesday´s voter turnout was the
lowest ever recorded in the
capital, at 38.02 percent, as
opposed to 42.32 percent in the
municipal election in 1998.
As expected, the low turnout
characterized the city´s
secular and traditional
population, which sent only around 50 percent of its voters to the
Jerusalem´s ultra-Orthodox residents also
disappointed on election day, despite estimates
that more than 90 percent of them would cast
ballots. Just 70 percent of the ultra-Orthodox
turned out to vote.
According to the latest voting tally, the
mayor-elect received 90,090 votes (some 7 percent
of which came from the secular population);
Barkat won the support of 74,550 voters; while
Likud candidate Yigal Amedi mustered only 5,656
The three other candidates in the race - Yossi
Talgan, Roni Aloni and Larissa Gerstein - will
not serve on the city´s new council, after
failing to win enough votes for a seat.
Results from a few more polling stations,
including ballots cast by soldiers and the
disabled, will be published within the next few
days, but aren´t expected to substantially change
The election results mean that the composition of
the Jerusalem City Council has changed, with the
ultra-Orthodox and religious factions
significantly boosting their representation with
four more seats: Degel Hatorah with nine seats,
Shas with five councillors, and the National
Religious Party with four representatives will
hold 18 of the 31 seats on the council.
On the other hand, the Likud saw its
representation on the council drop from the three
seats won by former mayor Ehud Olmert´s list to
two; while the Labor Party, which was represented
in the past by Teddy Kollek´s One Jerusalem
faction, failed to make it past the election
threshold and won´t send any representative to
Meretz and Shinui, the two secular parties running
in the elections to the city council, suffered
the biggest downfall. Whereas the outgoing
council included seven representatives from
Meretz and Arnon Yekutieli´s Jerusalem Now list,
Tuesday´s vote, which played down the
Haredi-secular conflict, left Meretz and Shinui
with just five council seats.
In the early hours of yesterday morning, after the
extent of his victory became clear, Lupolianski
turned up at his election headquarters in the
Malkha neighborhood to address his supporters.
"I feel that things have come full circle today.
One can say that in 1967, the city was united and
joined together; in 2003, its residents have been
united," the mayor-elect said, directing his
words at those in the city who fear an
Lupolianski expressed his desire yesterday for a
broad coalition that will include the Meretz
faction as well. The secular party´s elected
councillors have not ruled out the possibility.
Shinui, on the other hand, announced before the
elections that it would not join a coalition with
the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Members of Barkat´s Yerushalayim Tatzliach
(Jerusalem Will Succeed) faction convened
yesterday to formulate their opening positions in
preparation for coalition talks. Barkat, who will
be sending six representatives to the city
council, now heads the second-largest faction in
the Jerusalem Municipality.
After leaving his management post at the BRM
venture capital fund some six months ago, Barkat
said yesterday that he would be devoting all his
time to his activity on the Jerusalem council,
without pay. He said he would only join the
municipal coalition if Lupolianski adopted the
comprehensive work program he has put together
for running the city.
"The results of the elections prove that the
Jerusalem public was not familiar enough with me.
We have made significant achievements in the
elections. While 43 percent did indeed cast their
votes for me, my body of supporters was higher
than 50 percent." (© Copyright 2003 Ha´aretz 06/05/03)
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