(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Deputy Transportation and Science and Technology minister Tzipi Hotovely won the coveted 20th slot on the Likud party's list for the March 17 election over Public Security Minister Avi Dichter by 32 votes, Likud elections committee judge Menahem Ne'eman decided Monday.
Hotovely blamed problems in counting the votes in the December 31 primary on the system that was used of voting and counting the votes by hand.
"I welcome the election committee showing courage and doing justice to the will of the voters by correcting the mistakes that were made," Hotovely said. "Now what matters is that the Likud succeed in the election and continue to lead the country." Dichter was declared the winner of the slot following the primary. Hotovely was given the next slot on the list available to a current and former MK: The 26th slot, which does not guarantee that she would enter the next Knesset.
The 21st to 25th slots are reserved for newcomers and representatives of regions and minorities. The Likud received 22 seats in a Panels Research poll taken Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post
and its Hebrew sister publication, Maariv Sof Hashavua
Both Hotovely and Dichter asked for recounts in multiple polling stations and for some polling stations to be disqualified. Dichter has alleged that there has been criminal wrongdoing.
Hotovely said Monday that she wished Dichter well and hopes he will be in the next Knesset. Ne'eman, who is the former deputy chief judge of the Haifa District Court, downplayed the allegations in an Israel Radio interview.
Dichter is challenging the ruling, saying Monday that the Likud Supreme Court will discuss Tuesday his request to see documentation from the ballot boxes in which there is suspicion of irregular activity.
"Dichter's representatives have not been allowed access to the 'mystery ballot box' which was found in Jerusalem four days after the primaries which included double envelopes from Judea and Samaria Likud voters." The statement from Dichter added that there were a number of additional ballot boxes from which he had not seen original documentation.
"Because the margin of votes is so small, any new data can change the final result," Dichter stated.