Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer said Thursday there was “no chance” he would again head the Central Elections Committee if Israel goes to the polls for a third time in less than a year.
As head of the committee, Melcer oversaw general elections in April and September, both of which ended inconclusively, and was the arbiter as parties bickered over disqualifying rivals and voter fraud allegations.
Top politicians have stated their desire to avoid further elections, but with efforts to form a government stalled, the potential for a third round of voting has risen.
“If there are third elections, there is no chance that I’ll take them upon myself. I recommend to whoever does, that he be brave and take into account he won’t be popular,” Melcer was quoted saying by Channel 13 news at a legal conference in Haifa.
Under Israeli law, the Central Elections Committee chief is a member of the Supreme Court chosen by the other justices. No other judge of the top court has publicly expressed interest in the position.
Much of Melcer’s tenure as elections czar was dominated by allegations from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party of widespread voter fraud in Arab-majority areas in April’s ballot. The claim, which was not substantiated by evidence, was seen as an effort to drum votes for Likud, which also pushed for rules allowing party activists to film inside polling stations.
A police investigation into voter fraud found only minimal tampering, with some known cases of fraud benefiting Likud itself or the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.
Following the September elections, Melcer urged the attorney general and police chief to weigh opening investigations into voter fraud at 30 polling stations.