Ariel Sharon elected Prime Minister of Israel
Elections for Prime Minister were held in Israel on 6 February 2001 following the resignation of the incumbent, Labour's Ehud Barak.
Barak stood for re-election against Likud's Ariel Sharon.
It was the third and last Prime Ministerial election (separate elections were scrapped before the next Knesset elections in 2003), and the only one which was not held alongside simultaneous Knesset elections.
Voter turnout was 62.3%, the lowest turnout for any national election held in Israel. The low turnout was at least partially due to many Israeli Arabs boycotting the poll in protest at the October 2000 events in which 12 Israeli Arabs were killed by the police. Other possible reasons are Sharon's massive advantage in advance polls, and the lack of enthusiasm of Barak supporters due to his perceived failings, notably, the failure of the 2000 Camp David talks with the Palestinians, and the "turbine affair" in which Barak yielded to the religious parties' pressure, violating previous promises.
Israeli prime ministerial election, 2001
Candidate: Ariel Sharon
Candidate: Ehud Barak
Invalid or blank votes: 83,917
Total votes: 2,805,938