Election Diary: Making the list

One thing is clear: The popularity of the city council has never been so high.

Last week, the Knesset set the final date for the municipal elections: November 11. Besides Nir Barkat, a candidate since the results of the last elections, and oligarch Arkadi Gaydamak, nobody knows who is in the running, though a few eventual candidates for the job, including the actual mayor, are still mentioned. One thing is clear: The popularity of the city council has never been so high. Many groups are already dreaming of the soft rotating yellow armchairs of the city hall of Kikar Safra - an unprecedented achievement in terms of political engagement. So who are these people and what are their chances of attaining one of the 31 seats on the city council? Mafdal is seeking to get at least the same amount of seats (4) maybe more. But for the moment, the candidates are still busy fighting each other and time is running out. Yahadut HaTora's list will be decided at the last moment by the rabbis - the usual mix of hassidim and litayim. In Shas, according to internal sources, there might be a radical change in the list, a fact that has already caused tension among the members. Likud officially declared it is running (at least for the city council), although for the moment no name has been announced. The Labor Party has neither a candidate for mayor nor a list for city council. They are considering joining an existing list that shares the party's principles - once those principles are clear to the party members. Kadima is officially running a list, although nobody knows for the moment who will be its members. Barkat is also running a on list he will head, but as yet no one knows if the actual members of his list will go on with him or not. Among the newcomers, it is interesting to note that Jerusalem, until not so long ago a city blind to any green issues, will have no less than two green lists. The suspense is heavy: the two lists are fighting over the same person to lead them - Naomi Tsur, the former head of the SPNI, who had never dreamed she would become such a celebrity. After she almost officially agreed to lead the green local list, she might announce that she will head instead another green list recently created. "I never dreamed green would become so in," said a veteran member of the SPNI this week. Meanwhile, a group of young people recently formed recently a list called "Awakening in Jerusalem." Last week they led a chain of cars and stopped at the entrance of the city and sent an open letter to Mayor Lupolianski asking him to solve the most urgent issues to help them not leave Jerusalem: affordable housing, jobs, public transportation and support for cultural institutions. Two other lists might participate in the coming elections. City council member (split from Barkat's list) Meir Turgeman is forming a list of neighborhood activists and community center chairmen. A group of olim from the FSU are also considering forming a list of their own, "Since only we can represent our interests," explained one of the group.