Police are investigating allegations of election fraud in the recent leadership race at the Histadrut labor federation.
Authorities have been instructed by State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan to probe the claims, with the authorization of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
Channel 2 news reported that police have received evidence which may support the claims of defeated leadership candidate Shelly Yachimovich, who alleged that supporters of victorious sitting chairman Avi Nissenkorn had tampered with results.
Yachimovich, a Zionist Union Party lawmaker, won just 37.58 percent of the May vote for the Histadrut leadership, while Nissenkorn secured 62.42% of the ballots cast. More than 200,000 people voted for the head of the powerful labor union.
Yachimovich later appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court to annul the elections results, citing “massive irregularities.” The court this week rejected her petition, saying the Histadrut’s internal judicial authority should handle such claims.
Yachimovich’s camp has claimed Nissenkorn’s campaign intimidated voters, systematically removed voters from polling stations, falsified results and engaged in widespread corruption.
“The level of corruption and the systematic plan to falsify these elections is inconceivable, because we live in a democratic state,” Yachimovich said in May.
Founded in 1920, the Histadrut union quickly grew to become one of the most powerful institutions in the country. Although the influence of organized labor has waned in recent years, the Histadrut’s large membership ensures its ability to call paralyzing strikes, and the head of the organization is viewed as one of the most powerful political brokers in Israel.
Elections for the Histadrut take place every five years, but Nissenkorn’s predecessor Ofer Eini resigned two years into his second term as chairman, allowing his deputy to take the helm. He has been serving since June 2014.