Judge stops vote count in Histadrut race

Nissenkorn declares victory in leadership election.

May 25, 2017 06:34
2 minute read.
‘HI, IT’S SHELLY,’ says this sign, erected Monday on the southbound lane of the Ayalon Highway. It u

‘HI, IT’S SHELLY,’ says this sign, erected Monday on the southbound lane of the Ayalon Highway. It uses Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich’s now-famous introduction to her Facebook posts to promote her campaign for election as head of the Histadrut labor federation.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein issued an injunction late Wednesday night, stopping the vote count in the Histadrut leadership race due to allegations of forgeries and vote tampering.

Incumbent Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn claimed he had victory Wednesday over rival Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich in Tuesday's race to lead Israel’s biggest union.

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Even though the final results of Tuesday’s vote were only set to be published on Thursday, Nissenkorn issued a statement touting his win 59% to 41%.

“The members of the Histadrut decided they prefer actions over talk,” Nissenkorn said, mocking Yacimovich, who once hosted a radio show called It’s All Talk.

Yacimovich, however, did not concede defeat and filed an appeal, pointing to scores of alleged disturbances and irregularities in ballot stations, which her campaign called “systematic deception.” She asked the court for the restraining order. Yacimovich said she was gathering evidence to try to get the election canceled, calling it “the worst corruption in the history of the state.”

“There have been more than 100 attempts to steal this election,” she wrote on Facebook.

Yacimovich told Israel Radio Thursday morning she had compiled thousands of testimonies of wrongdoing. For instance, she said a truck carrying ballots from polling stations in Haifa at midnight arrived at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds where the votes were counted at 10:30am.  A polling station in Yehud was opened in the campaign office of Nissenkorn.

"I can't even begin to explain the extent of the forgeries and deception," Yacimovich said.

Asked why she could still dispute the results after losing by 20 percent, she said she respects losses and wins but this time, the voters were prevented from participating in the diplomatic process. She accused Nissenkorn of "violent acts" that harm organized labor.

"There must be new elections," she said. "I wanted to say that I respect the will of the voters but I cannot lie to myself."

The Nissenkorn campaign responded that Yacimovich should "stop acting pathetic and respect the results of the election."

Nissenkorn expressed regret that Yacimovich was not accepting the results.

“It is unfortunate that Yacimovich is not accepting her loss and is continuing her path of whining and mudslinging,” his campaign said. “We have gotten an impression she just wants to harm the Histadrut and organized labor.”

Nissenkorn’s victory could give a boost to the Labor Party leadership candidates who backed him, including Amir Peretz and Isaac Herzog. Former environmental minister Avi Gabbay supported Yacimovich and suffered a blow.

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