Haifa Mayor Defeated in Primary

Reserve Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna, the retired military leader who raised questions about Israel’s handling of the Lebanon War, trounced the incumbent mayor of Haifa in the Labor Party primary for the mayoral post.

The dovish Mitzna, who retired from the army just two months ago, won 63 percent of the vote Tuesday to 37 percent for Mayor Arye Gurel, who has been in office for the past 15 years.

Mitzna has now solidified his position as a strong favorite for the post, since the city, sometimes dubbed “Red Haifa,” has always been a Labor Party stronghold.

The Likud has yet to name its candidate for the mayoral race.

After the fierce, no-holds-barred primary election campaign, Gurel said Wednesday he was considering continuing his bid for mayor, but as an independent candidate.

Under a recently passed amendment to the Municipal Elections Law, candidates can run for direct election for the post of mayor.

The council members would still be chosen from party lists, elected by proportional representation.

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