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Israel’s elections committee unprepared for third vote, warns director

December 6, 2019 at 11:07 am

A man casts his vote during the Israeli general elections in Tel Aviv on 9 April 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

The director of Israel’s Central Elections Committee yesterday warned that it is unprepared for a likely third vote in less than a year, reported the Times of Israel.

“We don’t have staff, offices, equipment. The storerooms are empty. This is the current situation,” Orly Adas said during a press conference at the Knesset.

In addition, after having organised two elections in 2019, the committee is facing a serious budget shortfall. “We don’t have the professional workers who know what election work is,” she added.

Adas has also clarified that the earliest possible date to hold third elections is 25 February 2020 on the basis that “parties need time to assemble their electoral slates and the Supreme Court must rule on whether candidates are legally qualified to run”.

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Meanwhile, the elections committee will also need a new chair, after Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer said last month there was “no chance” he would take up the post for a third time. Yet, for now, “no other judge of the top court has publicly expressed interest in the position”.

The Knesset has a 11 December deadline for 61 or more parliamentarians to agree on one Member of Knesset to head a government, or else parliament is dissolved and third elections set. Two previous elections in April and September failed to result in a coalition forming.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) chair Benny Gantz have been unable to agree on the details of a unity government, despite publicly professing their desire to avoid a third election. Rumours of potential breakthrough deals have so far led to nothing concrete.

In November, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced criminal charges, including bribery, fraud and breach of trust, against Netanyahu.