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Netanyahu Calls for Emergency Election Committee Meeting on ‘Voter Fraud’

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Incoming deputy Supreme Court President Hanan Melcer attends a swearing-in ceremony for newly appointed judges at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, on Oct. 30, 2017. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday called for an emergency meeting with the head of the Central Election Committee, Supreme Court Judge Hanan Melcer, to discuss possible voter fraud in this week’s election.

Netanyahu’s request followed a report in the Hebrew daily Maariv on Friday according to which of the 82 people who complained of irregularities in the Arab-sector polling stations on the April 9 elections, only two were questioned by police.

According to the Likud, the number of fraudulent votes in April may have been high enough to put the United Arab List-Balad over the electoral threshold, preventing Likud from receiving two more seats. Two additional seats would have enabled Netanyahu to form a right-wing coalition.

“If the Likud’s complaints had been examined on time, Israel would not be in the current round of elections,” the party said in a statement.

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“Those responsible for the purity of the Israeli elections should not be entrusted with this sacred work,” wrote Kalman Liebskind, the author of the Maariv report. “The Central Election Commission chairman, [Supreme Court justice] Hanan Melcer, at best did nothing to check forgeries [reported] in the previous election, and at worst fought with all his might, for his own reasons, so that counting errors discovered would not be corrected.”

Netanyahu’s political opponents were quick to respond to the prime minister’s move.

Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz said it was “a shame that such a message comes out of the Prime Minister’s Office in Israel. Instead of convening an emergency meeting about the state of the health system, the young couples who can’t buy an apartment, or the families who can’t make ends meet, what interests Netanyahu are a few polls.”

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called on Melcer not to meet with Netanyahu.

“[Netanyahu’s] political spin is designed to bring into question the legitimacy of the democratic process and lower voter turnout,” said Gantz.

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