Likud reopens poll after ballot box bungle

Likud reopens poll after ballot box bungle

Sunday voting was marred by technical glitches in what one MK called 'a farce'; stations to remain open Monday until 9 p.m.

Likud supporters waiting to vote in their primary election, in Jerusalem on Sunday, November 25, 2012 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud supporters waiting to vote in their primary election, in Jerusalem on Sunday, November 25, 2012 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud members had another chance to vote in their party’s primary Monday, after the Likud election committee decided to extend voting to a second day, following technical problems that plagued its computerized polling stations on Sunday.

The committee voted to re-open polls from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m on Monday at some 50 polling stations around the country, and as of 2 p.m. there were no reported glitches in the process. The results were to be announced two hours after polls close.

The Sunday technical problems, recorded at some 80 stations around the country, caused many potential voters to go home without being able to cast their votes after waiting on long lines.

Despite the problems, polling stations reported record turnout, with some 52 percent of 123,351 registered party members casting ballots as of Sunday evening.

On Sunday, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said that the primaries should be called off altogether and rescheduled. “The process of elections taking place now is a farce,” Sa’ar stated. “It has to stop immediately and the election should be held on a new date.”

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin reportedly left a Jerusalem polling station in anger after the computer on which he was voting froze.

Likud head Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is guaranteed the top spot on the list, is reportedly seeking to steer the right-wing Likud to a more centrist position, but faces a strong challenge from the farther-right elements in the party, headed by MK Moshe Feiglin, a vocal critic of the prime minister.

A call sent out to hundreds of Likud members Monday morning featured Netanyahu’s voice urging voters to use the extra time to head to the polls.

The prime minister has come under criticism from the right in recent days for what is widely viewed as a premature end to Operation Pillar of Defense.

This criticism could result in a party list skewed against his policies, a result that one Netanyahu aide called a “crazy list,” according to a Ynet News report.

Seven current MKs, including people considered close to Netanyahu, like longtime legislators and senior ministers Dan Meridor and Benny Begin, are predicted to lose their seats in the reshuffling.

The results will be further complicated because the Likud has agreed to run on a joint list with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, meaning that the two lists will be merged in the end.

The latest polls give the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu joint list only 34 mandates, down from 42 between them in the current Knesset. During Operation Pillar of Defense, polls gave them 40 seats. Netanyahu is still expected to head a center-right bloc and retain his post as prime minister.

read more: