Supreme Court judge Neal Hendel chosen to head Central Election Committee
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Supreme Court judge Neal Hendel chosen to head Central Election Committee

Chief justice informs Knesset speaker of decision, with fresh national vote likely to be called this week for March; predecessor Hanan Melcer had said ‘no chance’ he’d do it again

Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel on July 25, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel on July 25, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel has been chosen to head the Central Elections Committee if fresh elections are called this week, Chief Justice Esther Hayut announced Sunday.

Hayut informed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that Supreme Court justices had chosen Hendel to replace Justice Hanan Melcer, who presided over the two inconclusive elections this year, in April and September.

Supreme Court Justice Uzi Fogelman will serve as Hendel’s deputy.

Hendel, a US-born judge, had been Melcer’s deputy over the two election cycles, leading Hayut to offer the job to him rather than Fogelman, who was slated to go next according to a prearranged schedule.

Melcer was Central Elections Committee chairman during the two rounds of voting in April and September, both of which resulted in a deadlock, with no party seemingly able to form a majority together with its allies.

Justice Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

He had said there was “no chance” he would again head the committee if there are third elections, which will be automatically called if no lawmaker secures backing by the December 11 deadline from a majority of Knesset members for the task of forming a government.

By law, the Central Elections Committee chief is a member of the Supreme Court chosen by the other justices.

Neither Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu nor Blue and White chair Benny Gantz has so far been able to form a government, even though both have said they want to avoid a third election. If it is held, the third election in 12 months is likely to take place in March.

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