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Photo: Avi Rokach
File photo
Photo: Avi Rokach
Polls open in Israel's municipal elections
A record number of 6,653,808 eligible voters can cast their ballot for one of 863 candidates for mayor and some 3,400 candidates for regional council heads; in a first since 1986, the municipal election day has been made a sabbatical.
Polls opened on Tuesday morning for Israel's municipal elections, where a record number of 6,653,808 eligible voters can cast their ballots for one of 863 candidates for mayor and some 3,400 candidates for regional council heads.

 

 

Polling stations, which opened at 7am, will close at 10pm in most places. Communities with 350 residents or less will close their polls at 8pm.

 

For the first time, elections for cities will take place on the same time as regional councils, meaning elections are being held at 251 of the 257 municipalities in Israel.


File photo (Photo: Avi Rokach)
File photo (Photo: Avi Rokach)

 

Israelis will be able to cast their vote in one of some 11,000 ballot boxes at some 4,000 polling stations across the country. Voting for mayor will be done on yellow ballots, while voting for a party in the city council will be done with a white ballot. At regional councils, residents will be able to vote for town council members with blue ballots.

 

If none of the mayoral candidates receives 40 percent or more of the votes, residents will be called to vote in a second round on November 13, choosing between the two leading candidates.

 

Incumbent Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav votes
Incumbent Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav votes

  

One of the main goals set by the Interior Ministry, which is entrusted with the municipal elections, is raising the voting rate, which is traditionally around 50 percent—significantly lower than the national elections, which have a 70 percent voting rate. To that end, the municipal elections day was made a sabbatical for the first time since 1986.

 

Incumbent Tel Aviv Ron Huldai and Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir, who is running against his boss, vote (Photos: Motti Kimchi, Tal Shahar)
Incumbent Tel Aviv Ron Huldai and Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir, who is running against his boss, vote (Photos: Motti Kimchi, Tal Shahar)

 

In another first, some 10,000 prisoners in 27 prisons and jails will be able to cast their ballot. Voting at IDF cases, where police and Prison Service personnel can also vote, began on Saturday night and will end on Wednesday.

 

The Interior Ministry also planned to hold elections for the first time in four Druze municipalities in the Golan Heights—Buq'ata, Mas'ade, Ein Qiniyye and Majdal Shams, but all candidates quit the race in both Buq'ata and Mas'ade, apparently after receiving threats, and there will be no elections in those towns.

 

Protest in Majdal Shams
Protest in Majdal Shams

 

The Interior Ministry is employing some 17,000 people on Election Day. In addition, over 16,000 police, Border Police and volunteers will be stationed at polling stations to maintain order.

 

Sole candidates

Seventeen municipalities only have a single candidate running for mayor: Kiryat Bialik, Acre, Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut, Givatayim, Rehovot, Kiryat Ata, Even Yehuda, Mevaseret Zion, Ma'ale Adumim, Nazareth Illit, Ma'ale Efrayim, Rekhasim, Ghajar, Kiryat Ye'arim, Rameh, Kaukab Abu al-Hija and Kisra-Sumei.

 

In those municipalities, voting with a green ballot would mean a vote against the sole candidate. If there are more votes cast against the candidate than for them, the elected city council members will choose the mayor.

 

Ma'ale Efrayim, Rekhasim, Ghajar and Kiryat Ye'arim will not hold elections at all as only one party has submitted its candidacy for the city council as well.

 

Eleven regional councils also have a sole candidate, and they will only hold elections for the council members and for the town council: Brenner, Menashe, Sdot Dan, Sdot Negev, Nahal Sorek, Hevel Eilot, Ramat Negev, Merhavim, Yoav, Megilot and Hof HaSharon.

  

Amir Alon, Ahiya Raved, Itay Blumenthal, Ilana Curiel, Matan Tzuri and Inbar Tviser contributed to this report.

 


פרסום ראשון: 10.30.18, 08:26
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