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- Last Updated: Thursday, 19 March 2015 14:03
Israel Elections 2015 LIVE: Voting starts in Israel's parliamentary elections
7:10 PM An estimated 26.5 percent of Israel's voters cast their ballots at polling stations across Israel by midday on Tuesday in the Israeli general elections, according to the Israeli Central Elections Committee.
3:00pm At a polling station in the central coastal city of Tel Aviv, Roy Aharon, 42, told Xinhua that he voted for the opposition centre-left Zionist Union party led by Yitzhak Herzog.
"Last time I voted for Yair Lapid (leader of Yash Atid party), but I think it was a mistake. He made many promises he didn't keep and things were actually worse," Aharon said.
Also Read: Election 2015: Israeli exit polls show race in virtual deadlock
The first exit polls were released Tuesday at 10 p.m. as voting closed in elections for the 20th Knesset, suggesting a surprisingly good showing for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party versus Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union.Click here to Read More..>>
"I feel that if we don't replace him, we don't have any hope left. The Zionist Union has some excellent politicians, and I hope they will be strong enough to beat Netanyahu and the Likud."
More than 20 parties are vying for the 120 seats in the one-chamber Knesset (parliament), of which opinion polls predict some 11 will make it to the Knesset.
12.50 pm (IST): Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog has cast his vote, and urged Israelis to not vote for Bibi
11.10 am (IST): As voting began for the 20th Knesset elections in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly pledged to extend an early invite to Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, to form a coalition , through a Facebook post.
10.50 am (IST): Voter turnout has not reached 70% since the 1999 elections, when the turnout was as high as 80%. However, this time the turnout is expected to be higher given the close race.
10:40 A.M. As of 9:00 A.M., 7.4% of eligible voters have cast their ballots.
- Nearly six million voters will be eligible to cast ballots in more than 10,000 polling stations across the country Tuesday in an election that is expected to attract the highest voter turnout since 1999.
Polling started on Tuesday in Israel in what is expected to be a close contest between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog.
According to authorities, up to 80 percent of Israel's 5.9 million voters are expected to cast their ballots for the 20th Knesset that has become a referendum on Netanyahu's six-year rule, the Times of Israel reported.
Most of the 10,372 polling stations opened at 7 a.m., and are slated to shut at 10 p.m. Some voting stations in rural communities, hospitals, and prisons opened an hour later. Netanyahu on Monday said a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch, should he be re-elected.
9.00 am (IST): Polling will continue till 10 pm (local time) on Tuesday, and the results will be out on Wednesday.
- The first exit polls will be analyzed by Voice of Israel at 10pm local time (4pm ET/ 8 pm in UK). The coverage will continue on Wednesday till 1pm local time (7am ET/ 11 am in UK).
He warned that any areas that came under Palestinian rule would subsequently become a Hamas stronghold. He also vowed to increase construction in East Jerusalem, and said the city would never be divided.
8.30 am (IST): 5.8 million Israelis are registered to vote across 10,000 polling stations on Tuesday.
Herzog, while visiting the Western Wall, one of the holiest Jewish sites, on Sunday pledged to "safeguard Jerusalem and its residents in actions, not just words, more than any other leader".
In Israel, the prime minister heads the government and is the most powerful figure in Israeli politics. The term is for five years. Netanyahu is the ninth Israel prime minister and has held the position since March 31, 2009.