Israel Votes, but Little Mystery Over Who Will Win

Netanyahu almost certain to be re-elected, but voters turning out

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 22, 2013 8:24 AM CST

(Newser) – It's election day in Israel, but there's not a lot of intrigue: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is almost certain to win another term, although his ticket (a joint ticket combining his conservative Likud Party with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu) could lose as many as 10 of the seats it currently holds in Parliament, perhaps to Jewish Home, a party that is further to the right. Despite the foregone conclusion, YNetNews reports that the country is seeing its highest voter turnout since 1999, and the election could end up breaking voting records in Israel.

The New York Times reports that voter participation had previously been dropping steadily, perhaps due to voter fatigue (Israel held five general elections, plus a direct ballot for prime minister, between 1992 and 2009); it was at less than 65% in 2009. This year, the Central Elections Committee ran a rousing voter drive, and President Shimon Peres urged everyone to vote. The Jerusalem Post notes that US media don't seem to care about the Israeli vote, perhaps because it falls on the day after President Obama's second inauguration. Most US coverage has focused on the less-than-exciting nature of the race and the lack of debate in Israel on some topics—for example, Netanyahu's failure to produce a formal platform.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot?at a polling station in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot?at a polling station in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Uriel Sinai, Pool)
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