Secular candidate elected Jerusalem mayor

November 12th, 2008 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Nov 12 (DPA) High-tech entrepreneur Nir Barkat, who billed himself as the “secular candidate” was elected mayor of Jerusalem, results from Tuesday’s municipal elections, announced early Wednesday, showed.Barkat won 52 percent of the vote, compared to 43 percent for ultra-Orthodox politician Meir Porush.

Controversial Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak garnered only 3.6 percent of the votes.

In Tel Aviv incumbent Ron Huldai fought off a determined challenge by left-wing legislator Dov Khenin to win another five-year term.

Despite predictions that the contest would go into a second round, Huldai won 50 percent of the vote, and Khenin 34 percent.

Incumbent Yona Yahav also won another term in the contest in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city.

In recent years, the results of Israeli municipal contests have had little or no bearing on national elections, as most candidates run at the head of lists promoting local, as opposed to national, issues.

However in Jerusalem, where the eastern, largely Palestinian-populated, part of the city is the subject of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, both Barkat and Porush declared their opposition to dividing the city, as Palestinians demand.

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