The Likud central election committee has decided to extend voting in the primaries by another day. Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots in 50 of the 132 polling stations between 11 am and 9 pm on Monday. The decision was based on a legal opinion.
Earlier on Sunday, the party decided to leave polling stations open until midnight following serious technical malfunctions in the computer systems. As of 5 pm, computers were functioning again. Some 51.6% of Likud voters had cast their ballots by the end of Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to be wary of the logistics of holding a second round of voting.
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Sources who spoke to Netanyahu said he believes it would be virtually impossible to arrange a physical ballot in the next few days. Only 16% of the 123,000 registered Likud voters cast their ballots before 4 pm.
"I can't recall such a major malfunction in any previous election," Minister Gideon Sa'ar said.
Earlier on Sunday, Sa'ar called for the cancellation of Sunday's vote.
Technical fault in polling station (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
"This is one big farce," he said at around noon. "The voting process is ridiculous and must be stopped immediately. We should set a new date and call off today's primaries."
The minister said that according to reports he received, "most of time the computers are down and thousands of people who arrived at the polling stations to vote went home frustrated. This is why there is a low voter turnout – people are not coming because they cannot vote.
Voters wait to cast their ballots (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Many voters were unable to cast their ballots and filed complaints with the election committee. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Minister Moshe Ya'alon joined Sa'ar in protesting what they called was a "farce."
One Likud official said, "Apparently, it's not Hamas' rockets that disrupt our elections, it's our computers. We might be strong at fighting Hamas but not at holding primaries."
Yuval Karni and Moran Azulay are both Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondents
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