The local elections committee declared that Ali Salam, won the elections for mayor of Nazareth. Then after the court ordered to count the votes in the ballot box which the local elections committee refused to count, the result was reversed in favor of Remez Jeraisy, Hadash candidate who served as the mayor since 1994. Consequently, Salam appealed to the Nazareth Administrative Court and demanded a new mayoral elections. The court did not accept his arguments, and rejected the request for new mayoral elections. As a result Hadash will continue to rule over Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab-Palestinian city.
This decision, against new mayoral elections, went against the recommendation of Attorney General Yehuda Weintein who asked the Nazareth Administrative Court on Tuesday to order a municipal new mayoral elections in the northern city. According to Weinstein, an investigation by the Interior Ministry, Prisons Service and Justice Ministry revealed that at least 11 ballots were cast in the Nazareth municipal elections by individuals who were either under arrest or out of the country and thus could not have voted on elections day, October 22.
Since the elections was won by mayor Ramez Jeraisy over challenger Ali Salam by just nine votes out of tens of thousands of ballots cast, the handful of fraudulent ballots may have been enough to decide the vote, Weinstein argued.
The Hadash local leadership has accused the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Attorney General of pursuing a “colonial policy of divide and rule” towards the Nazareth elections. “Netanyahu is playing a very dangerous game, seeking to inflame tensions so that he can incite Christians against Muslims and weaken us as national minority – Arab-Palestinians citizens of Israel,” said MK Hanna Swaid, a member of Hadash faction in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.