Efforts were launched in Nazareth Monday to reach a compromise that would allow joint management of the city by the two leading mayoral candidates, after challenger Ali Salam defeated incumbent Mayor Ramez Jerayssi (Hadash) by a mere 21 votes. Salam is a former deputy mayor to Jerayssi. On Sunday, Nazareth District Court Judge Asher Kula urged the two sides to come to an arrangement.
Jerayssi had petitioned the court, claiming that 17 of the votes cast by the city’s 31 soldiers had gone missing, and that another 42 votes cast by disabled voters had been disqualified because of irregularities in the voting procedure. Jerayssi supporters argue that these votes could have changed the results. The court issued an injunction blocking the Interior Ministry from announcing the official results of the election, though the Salam team argued that the results could be published and Jerayssi could then appeal. The petition regarding the soldiers’ votes will be heard on Thursday, and the challenge over the disabled voters’ ballots will be heard on Sunday. Both sides say that until then, they will work to reduce the tensions and divisions in the city.