Interior minister says Lion is Jerusalem mayor, though soldiers’ votes uncounted

Ultra-Orthodox favorite declares victory after securing 6,000-vote lead over Ofer Berkovitch; 8,500 outstanding votes will only be tallied Wednesday

Nov. 14, 2018

announced on November 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri declared Jerusalem mayoral candidate Moshe Lion the victor in Tuesday’s runoff overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, as the local ballot count ended with the ultra-Orthodox-backed candidate ahead of his rival, Ofer Berkovitch, by over 6,000 votes.

Lion claimed victory about two hours later.

Berkovitch had yet to concede the race, however, and the 8,500 votes by IDF soldiers, prisoners, and those cast in hospitals will only be counted on Wednesday, according to Army Radio. (Some 5,500 of those ballots were submitted by troops.) But Lion’s three-percentage point lead  (51% vs. 48%) was deemed sufficient by the interior minister and the candidate to confidently call the contest in his favor at 1 a.m.