Netanyahu makes election vow: if I win, no Palestinian state

Six million Israelis to vote Tuesday. 25 parties, 120 seats

16 March, 20:12

    An Orthodox Jewish man walks past a billboard of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Bnei Brak An Orthodox Jewish man walks past a billboard of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Bnei Brak

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu Netanyahu said in a interview on the Israeli website NRG that if he reelected, he will oppose the birth of a Palestinian state. He added Israel faced international pressure to restore its 1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem.
    The unity of Jerusalem will be maintained "in all its parts" as Israel continues to "build and strengthen" the city to prevent any future division, he told media while visiting the Har Homa Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, on the eve of the elections. There are nearly six million Israelis (5,81,696) eligible to vote for a new government tomorrow in the general political election. Twenty-five parties are vying against each other, including many minor ones. According to current political polls, only 11 of them can aspire to meet the electoral threshold barrier (3.25%).
    Up for grabs are the 120 seats of the Knesset, the country's only parliamentary body, which now entering its 20th legislature. Facing off for supremacy are essentially two forces: on the one hand the rightwing Likud of Prime Minister Netanyahu's nine years in power, on the other, the so-called Zionist Camp - a center-left alliance formed by Isaac Herzog, leader of the Labour Party, and Tizpi Livni, leader of the centrist Hatnua (Movement).
    The latest polls give a lead of about four seats to the Zionist Camp (24/25) against the Likud (20/21). In third place, with about 13 seats, is the United Arab List - for the first time in the history of the country - led by Ayman Odeh.
    Immediately following are the centrists of Yesh Atid (There Is Hope) led by former finance minister Yair Lapid, with a projected 12 seats. The religious, nationalist Jewish Hearth party, led by Naftali Bennett, can also expect about 12 seats, while polls say roughly nine seats await Kulanu (All of Us), led by Moshe Kahlon, formerly of the Likud.
    The religious Shas party is projected to win eight seats; and United in the Torah to garner six. The leftwing Meretz party and the rightwing nationalist Israel Beitenu (Israel Our Home), led by the outgoing foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, can each expect about five seats.
    Jews consistute about 80% of eligible voters, while Arabs make up 15% between Muslims, Christians and Druse. Five percent are "other". There are about 10,000 polling stations, which will open at 7:00am local time and close at 10:00pm. To be eligible to vote, one must be at least 18 years old, an Israeli citizen and enrolled in the Israeli registry. Those living abroad can not vote, except for those employed in state structures, such as embassies and consulates. The latter have already expressed their preferences in recent days. The voting system is simple. After identification, the voter receives an envelope and goes to the balloting station where he finds cards for each political party list. The voter can choose one list to be placed in the envelope, which is then cast into the ballot box. The total of valid votes is then divided by 120, the number of seats in the Knesset. Any leftover seats are divided according to agreements among the lists: whoever has more votes is awarded an additional seat.
    President Reven Rivlin will then entrust the task of forming the new government according to the election results. Election day is a public holiday in Israel, although public transport and emergency services are guaranteed. The results of the first exit poll will come out at 10:00pm, at the close of the polls. All TV channels are planning special live coverage of the vote and election results. (ANSAmed).

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