Jerusalem’s former mayor and out-going Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been making his choice in Israel’s local elections. In all, around 160 councils are up for grabs, including the hotly contested race for Jerusalem’s new mayor.
The two leading candidates are Meir Porush, an ultra-orthodox rabbi, and businessman Nir Barkat. Seen as a fight between Jerusalem’s secular and religious Israeli communities, both mayoral candidates want to build in the Palestinian dominated east of the city. A third candidate, Russian born millionaire Arkady Gaydamak is attempting to woo the 250,000 Palestinian voters, which make up around a third of the city’s population.
The status of Jerusalem remains crucial to peace talks between Israeli’s and Palestinians, with both sides claiming the city as their capital.