UTJ files appeal against election results to regain 8th seat

Ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party lost the eight Knesset seat it was expected to take in the election, taken instead by Likud, when the final vote count was submitted

Coalition talks between UTJ, Likud and Shas  (photo credit: UTJ)
Coalition talks between UTJ, Likud and Shas
(photo credit: UTJ)
The United Torah Judaism party has filed a petition against the Central Elections Committee demanding that an eighth Knesset seat, which the initial vote count awarded it but which was eventually designated to the Likud, be restored to the ultra-Orthodox party.
The petition, filed in the Jerusalem District Court, alleges that human errors were made in the final, official vote count by the Central Elections Committee and that these mistakes cost UTJ its eighth seat.
The party submitted electoral documents demonstrating what it said were small counting errors at a number of ballot boxes which, if rectified, should result in the transfer of the extra seat obtained by the Likud back to UTJ.
It said that these errors should see UTJ awarded 44 votes and Shas 52, while 41 subtracted from Yemina and 625 from Likud.
UTJ’s petition also argued that half of the 18 ballot boxes where electoral fraud was discovered by the Central Election Committee, including in a particularly problematic Druze town of Yarka in the North, should have been invalidated entirely due to the high number of fraudulent votes, instead of efforts made to identify valid votes from invalid ones.
The party’s petition said that rectifying these mistakes would mean that UTJ would receive its eighth seat, noting in particular that the Central Election Committee chairman himself, Judge Hanan Melcer, had stated that the difference in votes between UTJ and Likud, which had seen the seat awarded to Likud, was a mere 68 votes.
Likud filed a counter petition to UTJ’s, alleging other errors in the vote count which would benefit Likud at the expense of the ultra-Orthodox party, and arguing against the wholesale disqualification of votes in Yarka.