Almost a day after municipal elections
took place nationwide, Nazareth
is still in the dark about its future mayor. Tuesday night, Hadash
party members were already celebrating after receiving reports that incumbent Ramez Jarisi carried city hall, but early Wednesday morning they learnt that it was in fact businessman Ali Salem that led the race, if only by a few votes.
The final result will be published after absentee ballots and votes of disabled residents are counted. But in the meantime, one thing is certain: Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi
(Balad) failed in her bid to be the first female mayor of Nazareth.
Zoabi garnered only 10.4% of the popular vote, a much lower result than her campaign had originally anticipated. "I will continue to work on all those issues which became apparent during the campaign as part of my parliamentary work," she said, promising to continue to serve as a member of Knesset.
MK Zoabi votes (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
"The results of the elections reveal that the residents of Nazareth are hungry for change. The majority of votes went to a candidate that was the first to throw his hat into the race and managed to gather support to oust Jarisi. The people want to rid themselves of Hadash and Jarisi's rule; they are looking for a real alternative which will free the city of its corrupted management," Zoabi said.
"I'm aware that I received less votes than what I was expecting, but I never really thought I would win. The point of my candidacy was to show there was an alternative to the current reality. That much I will continue to do with the help of the amazing activists who were with me throughout this campaign."
Nazareth election posters: Jarisi (L), Zoabi (R) (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
Regarding her role as a lawmaker, Zoabi said that "I don’t miss it, but I will return to the Knesset to continue to struggle for the cause I was elected for – fighting against injustice."
The current leader in the Nazareth race, Ali Salem, said that "Hadash celebrated prematurely and without checking who really won. Then they learnt that victory was ours. Tomorrow I celebrate and begin to act as mayor."
If he does in fact win, Salem will replace the incumbent Jarisi, who for his part said that "at this point I would prefer not to comment. Yesterday (Tuesday) we knew we won, now things are different. It is better to wait and see."
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