Eli Cohen, the independent mayoral candidate for Beit Shemesh who was narrowly
defeated in last week’s municipal elections, is set to officially appeal the
election result due to alleged widespread irregularities that took place in the
Deputy Transport Minister Tzipi Hotovely of Likud called
on Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar to examine the possibility of holding new
elections in light of the numerous reports of election fraud and the small
margin of victory.
Incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul of Shas won the election
by some 950 votes.
Campaign staff working for Cohen say they have been
collecting testimony and evidence of numerous incidents of election fraud, and
the Cohen campaign is expected to formally submit the appeal to the Election
Clerk of the Interior Ministry in the coming days.
An appeal must be
filed to the Elections Clerk of the Interior Ministry no later than 14 days
after the election, which gives Cohen till November 5 to submit an
If the appeal is rejected, the campaign will likely file a suit
in the Jerusalem District Court against the election process and
There are several lawyers working on the case for the Cohen
Nili Philipp, a campaign volunteer and Beit Shemesh resident
and activist, said that she, along with numerous other members of the campaign,
have collected large amounts of evidence of serious election
Philipp said that numerous reports were received of incidents in
which voters had arrived at polling stations to cast their ballots only to be
told that they had already voted, as well as incidents in which people presented
false identity documents. One person who sought to vote with false ID was
arrested at the polling station, and he subsequently led police to an apartment
where 200 ID cards were discovered.
Eight people were arrested in
connection to this incident.
The Cohen campaign also claims that there
were hundreds of incidents of tampering at polling stations. Approximately 800
ballots were deemed invalid, 600 of which had been cast for Cohen, Philipp
Other reports included incidents in which Eli Cohen ballot
tickets were stolen from polling stations, as well as cases in which the
envelopes containing the ballot tickets had been tampered with.
cases, more ballots were cast than the number of people who registered at the
polling station as having voted.
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