Just a short post, the real action happens after 10 pm tonight when we will know if it is Livni or Mofaz taking up Olmert’s position as party leader, or perhaps a runoff if things are tight. Each candidate needs at least 40% of the vote to avoid a two person runoff so it is certainly possibility – turnout will be important because polls have been tight at times and Livni needs a huge get out the vote effort to avoid a head to head with Mofaz who controls a large chunk of Kadima party base.
Keep in mind that sealing the Kadima party win is only a 1st step, the new leader will have approx. 40 days to form a new majority coalition with the existing Knesset tally seats & parties, or Israel heads to the polls in a new general election..
Camp Livni and the Lady herself are sweating it up this evening, because turnout is so far VERY low. (under 30% by 6PM)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni disappointed by ‘unsatisfactory turnout rate’, urges voters to head to polling stations; about 19% of Kadima’s registered voters cast ballots by 4 pm.
Attila over at Ynet who is Livni’s greatest cheerleader there must be also stressing, because he’s been updating turnout all day like it is going out of style, raise your hand if you are sure Attila.. Well, take solace Livni, I’ve been pretty disappointed by your ‘unsatisfactory leadership rate‘ too, so I guess so far it all evens out. Good luck and get out that vote!! You need it to win.. 3.5 hours to go until polls close.
UPDATE II: Pitiful – Livni requests 1 hour long poll extension! Gets 30 minutes.. Polls to close at 10:30 NOW. Who goes out to vote suddenly at 10 at night when the day has been beautiful, not a cloud in the sky!? Only those getting desperate phone calls from Livni supporters, sad.. Very very sad. All day Livni in the media begging people to vote like a broken record, over & over again - Desperation is very attractive it seems. The ‘leader with the clean hands’ seems prepared to get dirty even before polls have closed, bodes well for Israel. *eyeroll*
Update III: Initial exit polls are out
Livni 43, Mofaz 38, Sheetrit & Dichter both close to 10%
These are exit polls, 1000 polled – this is not the final result but a projection. Well off the massive 20 & 15% leads these same pollers attributed to Livni before the election. It looks tight at the top, crossing the 40% mark is crucial for either candidate.
Looks like Livni with further exit calls on polling – Livni 47, Mofaz 38. In the last 2 hours alone over 20% of votes were polled, from a 30% turn out to over 50%, also news that everyone in line will be allowed to vote, so clearly Livni’s late evening push to get polls open later has paid off as she is pulling ahead in exit polls late.
Update V: Mofaz has left his campaign hall
No official call conceding, but close enough.. As Mofaz seems to acknowledge that the difference is now getting too large to close, especially with the big Livni gains coming late. Latest exits show Livni pushing to 48, Mofaz 37-38, Dichter 7, Sheetrit 7.
Channel 1 (Israel’s public broadcaster) reported on the media role in pushing Livni and speculated on the effect noting Mofaz had one media handler, Livni half a dozen with the media all day long touting one message: Livni wants to get out the vote.
Update VI 12am: Official results trickling in
No official win yet, and Livni is still an hour away from announcing / giving a speech as official results are only being tallied. Tzahi Hanegbi, one of the more senior Kadima members says he believes waiting is justified as results will in his eyes likely be closer than these exit polls show despite Livni seemingly having won. (Tzahi endorsed Livni.) Mofaz reportedly to speak tonight was well.
Shas the party most seen as critical to Livni to form a coalition is on every network tonight selling the benefits of awarding them billions in Social Payment Shekels to secure their seats in a new coalition. If that happens, prepare for a new reign even more left than Olmert.
Meretz the radical left party is reportedly elated with a Livni win and prepared to join a future coalition as well. If Shas does not join but Meretz, Labor, The Retirees, & Kadima form up with the Arab parties putting them over the top they could get 60-62, a slight majority. That says it all, Israel’s future not in its own hands, but being handed over to our Arab brothers..