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Israelis Face Array of Candidates in February Municipal Elections

Israelis will have 580 candidates for mayor or city council president to choose from when they cast ballots Feb. 28 in the first municipal elections to be held separately from national elections.

They will also have to select town council members from among 1,160 local lists, representing some 14,000 candidates.

The Knesset decided last year to hold parliamentary and local elections on different dates. The new Knesset was elected on Nov. 1.

The mayors and council heads are elected directly by personal ballot. The councils themselves are elected by proportional representation — as are members of the Knesset.

This may create a divided government in the two largest cities.

While Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem, a Laborite, and Mayor Shlomo Lehat of Tel Aviv, a Likud maverick, seem assured of re-election, their respective parties are not likely to retain majorities in the city councils, political analysts say.