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News > Israel

Israeli Elections: 36% Turnout, Palestinian Voters Surveilled

  • Benny Gantz (left), leader of Blue and White party and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voting during Israel's parliamentary election April 9, 2019.

    Benny Gantz (left), leader of Blue and White party and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voting during Israel's parliamentary election April 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 April 2019
Opinion

Israelis went to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes for the next Prime Minister of the country. At least 35.8% of Israeli citizens have cast their vote.

Around 35.8 percent (equivalent to two million voters) of the 6.3 million eligible voters have cast their vote in the Israeli general elections as of 2 P.M. (local time) on Tuesday. Nationwide, 10,000 polling stations are open to all eligible voters.

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Fourteen main parties are competing for 120 seats in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Any party that gains a majority of the 61 seats will be eligible to form a government and choose any of its leaders for the Prime Minister post.

The main contestants are the right-wing incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and another right-wing candidate Benjamin Gantz, the former Chief-of-Staff of the Israeli Army.

Netanyahu is seeking his fifth term as Prime Minister through this election. On the eve of the elections, he released a video with U.S. President Donald Trump’s pollster John McLaughlin urging people to vote for his Likud Party. He said if the right-wing base does not vote in full force, Israel will be taken over by leftists.

However, the elections are not without problems. Many people with disabilities have faced problems reaching the polling stations, even though they are required to have an accessible ballot box.

In many places, ballots have disappeared. The Central Elections Committee chairman Judge Hanan Melcer has asked the police to investigate the disappearances.

The chairman also complained to the police after 1,200 body cameras were found at polling sites in the majority populated Palestinian localities. According to the allegations, supporters of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party were provided with 1,200 body cams to monitor the Palestinian polling sites.

The Palestinian citizens in Israel have also complained of disturbances by right-wing extremists at their polling sites.

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