VIDEO / Former Shas Strongman Urges Court to Shorten Ban on Him Holding Office

Aryeh Deri announced Tuesday his intention to run in the Jerusalem mayoral elections in November.

The lawyer for former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri sent an official request Tuesday to Central Elections Committee Chairman Justice Eliezer Rivlin, asking to shorten the period of time in which he is banned from holding public office.

The letter was sent following Deri's announcement on Army Radio Tuesday morning of his intention to compete in the Jerusalem mayoral elections, scheduled for November 11.

Deri was convicted in the past of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, offenses for which he spent two years in prison. His offenses were deemed as having involved moral turpitude, and by law, that bars him from running for public office for a defined period of time.

According to the existing law that period is seven years, meaning Deri cannot compete in elections until September 2010.

However, under the law that existed at the time of his conviction in 2000, this period would have ended last year - which could permit a court to okay his participation in the elections.

Deri's announcement came following separate meetings Monday with two senior Haredi leaders, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv of United Torah Judaism and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef of Shas. He received their blessings to compete for the position of Jerusalem mayor, at the same time as ultra-Orthodox Knesset member Meir Porush of the United Torah Judaism party had been hoping to gain the support of the two rabbis in his own bid for the role.

Current Haredi mayor Uri Lupolianski has already announced that he will not seek reelection.