Supreme Court’s Melcer to once again chair Central Elections Committee
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Supreme Court’s Melcer to once again chair Central Elections Committee

Justices tap the veteran judge to oversee 2019’s second national vote, after his stint earlier this year

Justice Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee for the 21st Knesset, attends a committee meeting at the Knesset, April 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee for the 21st Knesset, attends a committee meeting at the Knesset, April 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

With Israel heading to its second general election in the same year for the first time in its history, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer was once again selected Monday to head the Central Elections Committee, which he also chaired ahead of April’s vote.

The CEC, which oversees and ensures the propriety and fairness of the election process, is populated by members of Knesset factions but chaired by a Supreme Court judge.

Melcer was tapped to once against head the committee by his peers. Justice Neal Hendel will be his substitute, if needed.

Melcer took an activist approach during his last stint as head of the CEC earlier this year, cracking down on candidates using the media to illicitly electioneer and demanding that political speeches from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others only be broadcast with a delay to cut out any such attempts.

On election day, he barred Likud activists with hidden cameras from polling stations.

The actual vote count, late on April 9 and over the next three days, saw a bit of controversy at the CEC when technical difficulties led to discrepancies in the count: The committee’s website temporarily showed the New Right party passing the electoral threshold, but committee officials later insisted that it had not.

Melcer was then forced to address the media as final votes were being counted, and stressed that the error was only in the website data, rather than the vote count.

New Right representatives were eventually allowed to examine data and no significant irregularities were found.

The Knesset dissolved itself in late May and set new elections for September 17 after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition, due to disagreement over a bill regulating the draft of the ultra-Orthodox into the military.

The move prevented President Reuven Rivlin from tasking another lawmaker with attempting to form a coalition.

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