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Secular hardliner elected mayor of Jerusalem

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-12

Secular right-wing candidate Nir Barkat has won the Jerusalem mayoral election, defeating his ultra-Orthodox opponent with 52% of the vote. The controversial Russian-Israeli billionaire Arcady Gaydamak took just 3.6% of the vote.

Secular right-wing candidate Nir Barkat won Tuesday's municipal elections in Jerusalem with 52 percent of the vote, according to official results.

Ultra-Orthodox rival Meir Porush won 43 percent, while Russian-Israeli billionaire Arcady Gaydamak trailed behind with 3.6 percent, with the fourth candidate, Dan Biran, winning one percent, accoreding to the full count of the votes released early Wednesday.

Polls closed at 10 pm (2000 GMT), with official turnout in Jerusalem just before that time announced at a low 42 percent.

"Tonight Jerusalem has won," Barkat told supporters in his victory pre-dawn speech at his campaign headquarters.

Barkat, like all four mayoral candidates, campaigned on a hardline ticket rejecting any future concessions of parts of annexed east Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of a future peace deal.

Date created : 2008-11-11