Photo: Gabi Menashe
While dealing with all the data, spins, declarations, and statements made by the various parties, it is still difficult to determine which party won Tuesday’s municipal elections. None of them will apparently be able to raise their hands with excitement.
Of course, this does not stop them from rushing to explain the Gordian knot between them and city council in Ramat Gan or some obscure northern community. They also make sure to stress the link between the municipal elections and the upcoming general elections.
Yet what can we still learn from the municipal elections? First, the knight on the white horse – the one who promised to save us from ourselves and from all our troubles – was pulverized. In Jerusalem, where he invested all his energies, billionaire Arcady Gaydamak has been left out of city council. Today it is clear that he and his political intensions pose no danger to existing parties on the national level.
His bombastic declarations, vulgarity, and the great amounts he spent left the voters indifferent. The political joke that has been running around here for months, on our backs, simply evaporated.
Another interesting aspect is the results achieved by Kadima. The ruling party spent many millions across the nation in an attempt to reinforce its power and status. Indeed, out of the roughly 80 municipal heads who joined it upon its establishment, only 50 were left. It lost large cities such as Rishon Lezion and Beer Sheva, and Haifa also was quite a headache before its candidate won in a tight race.
However, we should keep in mind that Kadima competed for the first time in local elections, and that its situation in the past two years has been difficult. In addition, it is still paying the price of the Second Lebanon War, of Olmert’s investigations, global warming, and what not.
At the end of the day, Kadima managed to get many dozens of members into city councils nationwide and was able to win in some local authorities. In that respect, there is no party that can boast more municipal heads who are affiliated with it, in one way or another, than Kadima.
Kadima spokespeople are presenting a rosy picture Wednesday: We won in 33 cities, they say. Yet if we look into this list, the fog is still there: For example, in Ramat Hasharon, where the mayor won by a gap that Syria’s Assad would be jealous of, both Kadima and the Labor party take responsibility for that. Both parties endorsed him and assisted him. Who gained from his victory? The answer is unclear. The same is true for Ron Huldai in Tel Aviv.
Part 2 of Attila Somfalvi’s analysis to be published Wednesday evening