Huldai beats Henin in TA mayor race

Incumbent mayor wins 50.7% of the vote, Hadash MK Dov Henin gets 34.2%; voter tuntout 37%.

ron huldai votes 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
ron huldai votes 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai fended off a serious challenge, beating Hadash MK Dov Henin 50.7 percent to 34.2% in Tuesday's municipal election. Oren Shahor received 10.5%. Despite losing the contest for mayor, Henin's local list, City for Everyone (Ir Lekulanu), won five seats on the 31-member city council, matching Huldai's One Tel Aviv list. Huldai, a former brigadier-general and fighter pilot, is a member of the Labor Party. He was first elected mayor in 1998, and then again in 2003. Huldai told Radio Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning he saw no problem with the two parties winning equal numbers of city council seats. "People need to understand how a council works. It is based on a coalition and everyone is a part of it," he said. Huldai invited all city council members to join his coalition. "Henin was a passing episode in Tel Aviv and he is returning to the Knesset in any case, but the people who make up the City for Everyone faction are good and worthy people, and I invite them to be our partners," Huldai said. Nissim Douek, his campaign manager, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday evening that Huldai triumphed because of the threat Henin's alternative vision for Tel Aviv posed to a lifestyle to which residents had grown accustomed. "We saw a big wave of anti-Henin voting in the north and south of the city," Douek said. "At the end of the day, a significant number of people were threatened by City for Everyone's vision. People are pleased with Huldai's management of the city and want him to continue." But Henin told the Post that the struggle for the future of Tel Aviv was far from over. "We built an urban movement, and we intend to develop and consolidate it," he told the Post. "We have created a very effective opposition on the issues we care about, and we have created an alternative platform that is socially and environmentally progressive." Henin indicated it was unlikely that his faction would join Huldai's coalition. "This is an argument between two opposing world views. It's not personal; Ron Huldai is a very hard-working man. But I don't think he is willing to change his approach. We will be the opposition," Henin said.