Netanyahu calls for emergency meeting on election fraud

“If the Likud complaints were examined on time, Israel would not be in the current round of elections,” the Likud party stated, according to Maariv.

September 15, 2019 07:46
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested an emergency meeting with the head of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Judge Hanan Melcer, ahead of Tuesday’s election, following a report of widespread voter fraud in the Arab sector in the April 9 election.

Maariv columnist Kalman Liebskind reported on Friday that 82 people complained about irregularities in the Arab sector, and all but two said police never questioned them.

“They will try to steal the election,” Netanyahu said in an interview with KAN 11 on Saturday night.

A Central Elections Committee spokesman said the Likud’s request would be considered by the committee’s presidium. MK David Bitan, who is the Likud’s representative in the presidium, formally submitted the request late Saturday night.

Likud said the findings of the investigation were grave and indicate that the election was “stolen” from Netanyahu, because without forged votes, the United Arab List-Balad alliance might not have crossed the electoral threshold. In that scenario, Likud might have received two more seats, and the second election could have been averted.

“If Likud’s complaints were examined on time, Israel would not be in the current round of elections,” the party said.

In his article, Liebskind wrote, “Those responsible for the purity of the Israeli elections should not be entrusted with this sacred work. The Central Election Commission Chairman, Hanan Melcer, at best did nothing to check forgeries [reported] in the previous election, and in the worst case, fought with all his might, for his own reasons, so that counting errors discovered – would not be corrected.”

Netanyahu convened a meeting about the alleged wrongdoing on Saturday that was attended by Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan and Bitan.

Opposition politicians quickly responded to the prime minister’s request with disapproval.

Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz said it was “a shame that such a message comes out of the Prime Minister’s Office in Israel. Instead of convening an emergency meeting about the state of the health system, the young couples who can’t buy an apartment, or the families who can’t make ends meet, what interests Netanyahu are a few polls,” he said.

Blue and White co-leader Benny Gantz called on Melcer not to meet with Netanyahu.

“His political spin is intended to question the legitimacy of the democratic process and lower voter turnout,” Gantz said.

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