The final stretch: The Kadima Party's ballots closed at 10 pm Tuesday, bringing the party's somewhat sluggish primary elections to their close.
The party stationed 197 ballots across Israel, to serve its 95,000 registered members, but as of 10 pm only 45% of the party's members had cast their vote.
- Kadima primaries underway
- Livni, Mofaz urge high voter turnout
- Dichter drops Kadima chairmanship bid
Initial sampling of the ballots indicated that Mofaz was in the lead over Livni. Channel 10 said that a sampling of 125 of the 197 ballots gave Mofaz 64% of the votes.
Head of Kadima's Election Committee Judge (Ret.) Edna Bekenstein said that the final results would be published only after all votes are counted. She added that the voting process was conducted in accordance with laws and regulations.
Livni visits campaign call center (George Ginsberg)
Sources in the Mofaz campaign said they were sure of they would deliver "a substantial victory." According to one source, Mofaz cemented a lead in the non-Jewish sector.
Over at the Livni campaign, MK Yoel Hasson told Ynet that "from what I've seen today Tzipi is going to win… We need to rebuild Kadima ahead of changing the government. I hope that after the elections Kadima will be able to unite."
'Vote for Israel's future'
Earlier, party insiders hedged that high voter turnout may prove crucial if Livni is to keep her seat as chairwoman of the Opposition.
"Don’t leave your children's fate to political dealmakers," Livni pleaded with voters. "This vote is the answer – go to the ballots… My success is everyone's success."
Over at the Mofaz campaign, chief strategist Lior Horev said that so far, the vote was "going in our direction," adding that "the current focus is on widening the gap."
Mofaz campaign headquarters (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
"This vote is a vote for the future of the State of Israel," Mofaz told reporters in his campaign headquarters. "I feel confident… I feel the people's sympathy and despite the low voter turnout I can feel the support in me constantly growing."
Former Kadima Chairman and PM Ehud Olmert, who is visiting the United States, commented on the party primaries, saying that there was a "good chance" that the next Knesset elections will produce a Left-Center bloc vis-à-vis a Netanyahu-led government.
"Whoever wins tonight will be able to strengthen the party. I suggest we all be patient as to the future result of the next elections. The political climate may change."
Yitzhak Benhorin, in Washington, contributed to this report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop