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Entrepreneur wins Jerusalem mayor polls, Russian billionaire third

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The Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak came third in mayoral elections in Jerusalem as a secular businessman took over half of the vote to win, according to results publicized on Wednesday.
TEL AVIV, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak came third in mayoral elections in Jerusalem as a secular businessman took over half of the vote to win, according to results publicized on Wednesday.

Tuesday's mayoral elections in the city of 700,000 were held on Tuesday and were widely seen as a battle between entrepreneur Nir Barkat and the ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Meir Porush, a father of 12.

Barkat won 52% of the vote, Porush, 40%, and Gaydamak 3.6%. Fourth place was taken by Dan Biron, head of the pro-marijuana Green Leaf party. The elections were the first time that Israel's three major political parties failed to field candidates.

In his acceptance speech, Barkat, who will succeed ultra-Orthodox Jew Uri Lupolianski, promised that during the next five years he would be "a mayor for all Jerusalemites,' including the ultra-Orthodox and Arab populations.

The new mayor is however against the proposed division of Jerusalem with the Palestinians, who are claiming the east of the city, seized by Israeli forces during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Municipal polls were held throughout Israel on Tuesday. Israel is set for parliamentary elections in February.

Gaydamak, 56, has yet to comment on the results of the elections. He was born in Moscow in 1952, and immigrated to Israel at the age of 20. He made his fortune, estimated at over $8 billion, by pursuing a lucrative import-export business.

In February 2007 he announced the establishment of his own Israeli social movement, Social Justice, which became a political party in July 2007.

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