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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:54, March 29, 2006
Feature: Undecided voters influence Israeli elections
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With about one fourth of the Israeli voters undecided near the end of the elections which started on Tuesday morning, three major parties -- centralist Kadima, left-wing Labor Party and right-wing Likud is making the last efforts to win the floating voters.

Kadima's running forward in the polls is not really new. The big surprise of Tuesday's general elections may come from small parties, some people said.

It seems that more and more Israelis are choosing alternative ways of voicing their opinions, like voting for small and new parties -- or not voting at all.

One of the party is called "Hagimlaim", meaning in Hebrew "the retirees". It is a party which represents the retired and elderly population.

Israel's elderly have become a very needy sector. So, even younger people who want their vote to "mean something" are now voting "Hagimlaim", also because they are aware that they, too, will some day be older and in need of good representatives in the parliament.

More than five million people are registered to participate in the elections in 8,280 stations across the country. But until Tuesday afternoon, voters turnout in the election for the 17th Knesset was the lowest in Israeli history.

In order to be convenient, most polling stations are located in schools. Inside the voting room, four people were sitting behind a long table with their backs to the wall, facing the entrance.

These people are the "poll committee", since they are the ones who check the voter's name and ID, and hand him or her a blue envelope bearing the emblem of the state of Israel.

The committee consists of representatives of two different political parties and of regular citizens who are there to oversee the process.

While Likud chairman Beyamin Netanyahu urges people to "go out and vote", Labor leader Amir Peretz is busy traveling from one city to another to attract voters attention.

Outside one of the polling stations in Jerusalem, a supporter of Kadima was sending advertisements to the coming voters. "I hope I can do something to make sure the winning of Kadima," she said.

The polls and the media show that many people have chosen to shift their previous political loyalties in Kadima's direction, because ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's last moves like the disengagement from Gaza were actually at the centre of popular consensus.

But is this actually so? This is something only the results will truly be able to say.

Another Kadima supporter, who was previously a loyal voter of the Labor Party, said she decided to make the move to Kadima at the moment she heard that Sharon has chosen to establish the new political party. She believed Sharon knew what the right path is towards a good future for Israel.

However, some other people also consider the voting as a fun.

In a polling station in Tel Aviv, one woman was saying to the other cynically, "Thank goodness the election takes place only once in two years, and not four like they should have, in this way we have a chance to see each other."

Source: Xinhua


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