Defeated candidate Shelly Yachimovich on Tuesday delivered a petition to the Tel Aviv District Court asking to have the recent Histadrut labor federation election results annulled and new elections called.
Last week, Yachimovich, a Zionist Union Party lawmaker, won just 37.58 percent of the vote for the Histadrut leadership, against sitting chairman, Avi Nissenkorn, who secured 62.42% of the ballots cast. More than 55,000 people voted.
Last Wednesday, Yachimovich appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court alleging “massive irregularities” and claiming that hundreds of ballot boxes had been “knowingly tampered with.”
On Thursday evening, Judge Eitan Orenstein ruled that the vote counting could continue.
The appeal lodged on Yachimovich’s behalf on Tuesday alleged that the election campaign included terrorizing workers, suggesting that their votes would be made public, systematically removing voters from polling stations, falsification and mass corruption, the Ynet news site reported Wednesday.
“The level of corruption and the systematic plan to falsify these elections is inconceivable, because we live in a democratic state,” Yachimovich said. “But here, even though these are the second-biggest elections in Israel, these are imaginary elections. In the third world there are at least international observers with authority.”
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.