The Second round of local elections

Yesterday (Sunday), a second round of voting took place in the municipal elections in 35 councils and municipalities across the country. These are authorities in which no candidate has succeeded in achieving the 40% threshold, which requires another round between the leading two candidates. This day was not a work holiday, because it was relevant for less than a tenth of the population, and accordingly the turnout was lower than the percentage of voters on the big election day two weeks ago (Feb. 27th), with about 45% across the country (and closer to 55% two weeks ago).

In Haifa, the largest city that held elections yesterday, Yona Yahav defeated his rival David Etzioni. Yahav was mayor of Haifa for a decade until 2018, when he lost to Einat Kalish-Rotem; but this time, Kalish-Rotem could not even reach the second round. Yahav promises to restore order and execution to the Haifa Municipality, with the issue of dealing with the wild boars in the city of Carmel at the top of his priorities.
Another important city in which a change was recorded is Beit Shemesh. The current mayor, Aliza Bloch, lost to Samuel Greenberg – a result of an ultra-Orthodox victory over the Zionist-religious (and secular) candidate, and an indicator for the direction in which Beit Shemesh is heading in the coming decades. In Rechovot, Attorney Matan Dill defeated Zohar Blum, in what can be viewed as a victory of the “conservative” bloc over the “liberal” bloc in the city.
Other revolutions have been recorded in many other cities, such as Kiryat Gat, Efrat, Yehud-Monsoon, Beit-Jen, Or Akiva and Abu Ghosh. This is due to the nature of the electoral system, which allows for a second round – when, according to experts, the chances of a turnover against a sitting mayor are higher in the second round than in the first round (due to the ability to “join forces” behind an agreed-upon counter-candidate). It may be better to take inspiration from this method of choice for other election campaigns as well (especially in the USA, where all elections go by the ‘winner takes it all’ system).

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