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    Elections in Israel

    Quarter of Israelis Voted as Polling Stations Struggle to Keep Up With Flow

    © REUTERS / Baz Ratner
    Middle East
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    Israeli General Election 2015 (52)
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    More than 1.5 million, or 26.5 percent, of Israelis have voted as of 12 p.m. local time (10:00 GMT), as polling stations struggle to keep up with the flow of voters, the Central Elections Committee reported Tuesday.

    TEL AVIV (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova — The figure is similar to the turnout in the 2013 election at the same time.

    Nearly six million voters are eligible to cast ballots on Tuesday in more than 10,000 polling stations across the country. Experts say the current elections are expected to see the highest voter turnout since 1999.

    The two main rivals are the largest parties in Israel – Likud, headed by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the opposition Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog.

    "We are happy and full of hope that the changes are coming," Irina, one of the voters, told Sputnik after leaving the voting center set up in one of Tel Aviv's schools, adding that, "It is time for the country to move forward."

    She explained that the Israeli voting method was user-friendly even to those who have limited knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic.

    Inside the voting center, Irina was given an envelope prior to entering the voting booth. In the booth, there is a tray holding slips of paper. Each slip has the name of a party and the "symbol" of the party. After exiting the voting booth, Irina and her son place the envelope in the ballot box.

    Election day is a holiday in Israel. Citizens exercise their right to vote and bring their families along.

    According to the latest polls, Netanyahu's Likud Party is forecast to lose the election to the left-wing Zionist Union.

    Should Netanyahu lose the elections, he would still have a good chance of forming Israel's next government, as Likud has more political partners in the parliament, the Knesset, than Herzog's party. That means that Zionist Union would need a significant lead over Likud to be assured of forming a coalition.

    Israeli General Election 2015 (52)


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