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Like a hurricane…

February 10, 2009


Amid fears that voters would stay away from Israel’s polling stations because of bad weather, apathy born of a coalition-based political system that forces elections every two years or so and a lacklustre campaign overshadowed by the Gaza war – you knew at least these guys would show up at the ballot box.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert and Avigdor Lieberman all voted early - hoping that their supporters would follow them to the polling stations.

Lieberman – who voted near his home in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Nokdim – said even a hurricane could not keep his supporters away.

Early voter turnout numbers suggested he’s right with some estimates suggesting voting was proceeding at a higher pace than in the last election held in 2006 under sunnier

And anyone who missed the handshaking, baby-kissing and ‘on message’ soundbites of a political campaign in the build up to the elections need not fear. After casting their ballots the candidates are all spending the rest of election day working the crowds in a blizzard of visits to as many different polling stations as they can get to.

Meanwhile, it seems another storm was averted when police intervened to keep far-right Jewish politicians out of an Arab-majority town in the north of Israel.

We’re ‘all hands on deck’ at Reuters in Jerusalem today as we follow the twists and turns in an election that pollsters acknowledge is too tight to call.

Stay up to date via the Reuters News link in the column on the right of the page which will take you straight to the latest developments. Or click here.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)

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