Soldiers' votes shift J'lem council seat from Shas to Meretz

Secular and modern Orthodox parties gain control over 19 of 31 seats, a turnaround after five years of haredi control.

soldier votes 298.88 (photo credit: IDF)
soldier votes 298.88
(photo credit: IDF)
The final election results in the capital, after the soldiers' votes were counted, resulted in Meretz gaining a third city council seat, at the expense of Shas. The Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Party finishes with 4 seats, and is still the third largest party on the council, after United Torah Judaism (8) and Nir Barkat's Jerusalem will Succeed list (6). Mayor-elect Barkat increased his margin over UTJ's Meir Porush and finished with 51 percent of the vote, compared to 41% for Porush. Arkadi Gaydamak garnered 3.5%, while eleventh-hour candidate Dan Biron of the Green Leaf Party, which seeks to legalize marijuana, rounded out the mayoral results with 0.5%. By law, Barkat will replace Mayor Uri Lupolianski of UTJ within 21 days of Tuesday's election. In the city council, secular and modern Orthodox parties gained control of 19 of the 31 seats, a stunning turnaround after five years of haredi control. The results means Barkat can control the council without having to form a coalition with any of the haredi parties, but he said Wednesday that they should be part of his coalition. Gaydamak's Social Justice Party did not gain enough votes to enter the council, nor did the once-dominant Labor Party. The other parties on the new council will be the National Union-National Religious Party (3 seats), Wake up Jerusalem and Yerushalayim Beiteinu (2 seats each), and the Likud, Pisgat Ze'ev is on the Map, and For Jerusalem, each with 1 seat.