The Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the appeals by Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbol and mayoral candidate Meir Balayish – and so municipal elections will be held again in Beit Shemesh on 11th March. The incumbent’s most serious challenger is the Religious Zionist candidate Eli Cohen.
In a statement, the three judge court, comprising Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis, Elyakim Rubinstein, and Uzi Fogelman, announced that:
“The picture which emerges from the District Court Ruling, regarding the manner in which the elections took place in the town of Beit Shemesh, is alarming and disturbing. Residents of the city of Beit Shemesh, and the election process to express their democratic wishes, fell victims to an organized large-scale and systematic violation of law which aimed at diverting the election for mayor and City Council. In light of the extensive scope of the phenomenon, and the systematic organization of those involved, the District Court found that there is a real possibility that this serious conspiracy affected the election results, and therefore ordered cancellation of the previous elections and the holding of new elections.”
The new election date of March 11 was announced by the Ministry of Interior.
This decision by the Regional Court, now confirmed by the Supreme Court, is a legal precedent in defense of the democratic process.
One hopes that the new election campaigns will be considerably less corrupt than during the previous election in October – and that this time everyone will keep to both the letter and spirit of free and open elections.