Supreme Court judge Neal Hendel said to agree to head Central Election Committee

Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel has agreed to head the Central Elections Committee if fresh elections are called this week, a report said Sunday.

Chief Justice Esther Hayut offered the post to Hendel, who would be replacing Justice Hanan Melcer, who presided over the two inconclusive elections this year, in April and September, the Haaretz daily reported, without citing a source.

The appointment is not yet official and has not been publicly announced.

Hendel, a US-born judge, had been Melcer’s deputy over the two election cycles, leading Hayut to offer the job to him rather than Justice Uzi Fogelman, who was slated to go next according to a prearranged schedule.

Melcer was Central Elections Committee chairman during the two rounds of voting in April and September, both of which resulted in a “hung” Knesset, with no party seemingly able to form a majority together with its allies.

He has said there is “no chance” he will again head the committee if there are indeed third elections, which will be automatically called if no lawmaker secures backing from a majority of Knesset members for the task of forming a government by the December 11 deadline.

By law, the Central Elections Committee chief is a member of the Supreme Court chosen by the other justices.

Neither Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu nor Blue and White chair Benny Gantz has so far been able to form a government, even though both have said they want to avoid a third vote.

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