(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Likud could send an American citizen to the Knesset in the March 17 election if the party’s internal court rules in favor of an appeal by former Jerusalem city councilman Yair Gabay in a hearing set for Tuesday.
Gabay, who has US citizenship because his mother is from New York, appealed official results that indicated that former Jerusalem Beautification Department head David Amsalem defeated him for the 21st slot on the Likud list, a slot reserved for a candidate from the Jerusalem area. Gabay said he examined the protocols and found serious problems.
“I saw systematic forgeries by polling station managers who are close to Amsalem,” Gabay said. “The votes in Jerusalem were counted correctly but different numbers were submitted as the final results. The results written for the eight polls in Beit Shemesh are completely wrong and include only seven polls. The Likud must do everything it can to clean up this mess before the election. We cannot go to the public with a list that includes candidates who tried to twist the result of the primary.”
Some 300 votes not counted in Beit Shemesh were the difference between Amsalem and Gabay.
Meanwhile, the internal Likud court ruled Monday that Deputy Transportation and Science and Technology Minister Tzipi Hotovely won the coveted 20th slot on the Likud list over Public Security Minister Avi Dichter by 32 votes.
Dichter appealed the ruling to the Likud Supreme Court, which on Tuesday will deal with his request to see documentation from the ballot boxes in which there is suspicion of irregular activity.
His representatives have not been allowed access to what they called a “mystery ballot box” that was found in Jerusalem four days after the primaries, which included double envelopes with votes from Judea and Samaria.
“Because the margin of votes is so small, any new data can change the final result,” Dichter said.
Hotovely said she wished Dichter well and hopes he will be in the next Knesset. She blamed problems in counting the votes in the December 31 primary on the system 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.