Jerusalem gets a new mayor

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Jerusalem on Tuesday elected former high-tech businessman Nir Barkat as its ninth mayor.

A relatively high 42 percent of the electorate turned out to give Barkat an 8-point victory over his top challenger, religious Orthodox candidate Meir Porush.

Barkat replaces Mayor Uri Lupolianski, Jerusalem's first Orthodox mayor. Lupolianski was widely criticized during his five years in office for favoring Jerusalem's religious population and for bureaucratic foot-dragging on important city projects.

During his campaign, Barkat promised to clean up a city that Ha'aretz recently labeled Israel's "dirtiest," increase tourism to the holy city five-fold and stem exodus of young, skilled couples from the capital by creating new jobs and reducing housing costs.

Barkat has also promised to more rapidly and efficiently complete a light-rail transportation system that is years overdue and millions of dollars over-budget.

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