High Court President Asher Grunis and Judges Yitzhak Amit and Dafna Barak-Erez decided Tuesday that a revote will be held in the elections for the mayor of Nazareth in the Galilee, the most important Arab city in Israel. The High Court of Justice ordered a new mayoral election for Nazareth after the results of the last vote, which took place in October, were disqualified due to fraudulent ballots. In the October municipal elections, incumbent Ramez Jeraisy (Hadash) beat out challenger Ali Salam, a former local Hadash leading member, by just nine votes.
The court gave the state 30 days to prepare for the new election. Within hours on Tuesday, right-wing Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar ordered that the new elections take place on March 11, and said that the decision to hold new elections was the “only logical and reasonable solution under the circumstances.” Incumbent Ramez Jeraisy, who has held the mayoral post for two decades in Nazareth, said that the High Court should have accepted the residents’ decision and recognized the legal vote, and accused the government of political intervention in the matter, according to a Tuesday “Al Ittihad” Communist daily newspaper report. Jeraisy called on the residents of Nazareth to decide responsibly in the new election. The elections will likely take place on March 11, according to the Interior Ministry.