Ron Huldai with his wife Yael after winning his fifth term in office as mayor of Tel-Aviv.
(photo credit: SASSONI AVSHALOM)
Tel Aviv woke up on Wednesday morning to the same mayor they have had for the past 20 years, after residents gave Mayor Ron Huldai their blessing for him to see out a quarter of a century in city hall.
Although the final results were not yet out by Wednesday night, the most recent figures gave Ron Huldai got 46% of the votes, while his deputy Asaf Zamir got 34%.
“We have many more things to do for the people of Tel Aviv,” said Huldai after results of his victory came in. “I thank the residents of Tel Aviv for their trust [in me] and the great team [of activists]. They did a wonderful job,” he said, as his supporters celebrated with him.
As he left his house on Wednesday morning, he told reporters who asked what he will do now: “I’m getting up to go do work as I do every day. There is still much more to do in this city – I thank the residents who once again gave me their trust.”
Conceding defeat in the early hours of the morning, Zamir thanked his supporters, telling them: “I am proud of you and the clean campaign we led. I am proud of the party list we submitted, and I have no doubt that in whichever way it will be, we will impact the city life of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in the coming years.”
Anachnu Ha’ir leader Assaf Harel got 13% of the vote, while Shas candidate Natan ElNatan received 7%.
The second vote for municipal parties reflected the mayoral vote, with Huldai’s Tel Aviv 1 set to be the largest party with seven members in the city council, followed just behind by Zamir’s Rov Ha’ir with six, and then by Harel’s Anachnu Ha’ir with four. There is a total of 31 seats on the city council.
Questioned on Army Radio about whether he would sit in a coalition with Zamir, whom he had criticized for running against him after serving as his deputy for 10 years, Huldai responded: “A party is not a person. I usually have a big coalition.”
He continued saying that you could find representatives of various groups and sectors in his previous coalitions, and he has not ruled anybody out.
“And I think this was proof that money and fake news are no alternative to professional, organized, thorough hard work,” Huldai said, in another jab mostly at Zamir’s campaign and the media.
In the afternoon, Zamir wrote on social media congratulating Huldai and wishing him luck. “I ran for mayor because I really believe there are many areas in which our city needs to move forward, and I really feel like I could have taken us there. Some 65,000 Tel Avivians thought so, too, but it wasn’t enough. Ron Huldai was elected for a fifth term and will serve a quarter of a century as mayor, and we will be there, six members of Rov Ha’ir, the city’s second-largest faction, to fight for the city in all the areas we talked about during the campaign.”
Anachnu Ha’ir hailed the 4 seats that it won: “It is clear to us now that Anachnu Ha’ir will be one of the most influential movements in Tel Aviv-Jaffa in the coming years, thanks to the extraordinary connection we built – between Jaffa, the heart of Tel Aviv, the south and north of the city.
“We did not win the mayorship, but we proved that an uncompromising campaign which touches the real issues that occupy the city’s residents can turn into what defines the political debate. We set a vision for another city: a city that works for the residents and not for the buildings, a city whose leaders are representatives from the neighborhoods, and not a city that is pushing the weaker populations out. Anachnu Ha’ir is a message, in the city and in the state, of partnership that creates a more equal and just place for all of us.”
The Yafa Party, a new list that represents Jaffa residents, announced that it had won one seat in the council.
The Olim Beyahad TLV Party, which is dedicated to new immigrants, did not get enough votes for a seat on the city council; neither did Ichud TLV, which also placed a focus on new immigrants.
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