IDF soldiers' vote could result in election tie

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

With all of the regular votes counted in Tuesday's general election, Tzipi Livni's Kadima Party edged out Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party by a single seat.

And while local media celebrated Livni's win and launched into endless discussions over how she could possibly forge a majority coalition in a right-leaning Knesset, some officials were careful to point out that the election results could still change.

The votes of some 150,000 on-duty soldiers, diplomatic staff stationed abroad and prisoners had yet to be counted. Those votes are equal to about five Knesset seats, and in such a close election could drastically alter the outcome.

The soldiers' vote typically tends to tilt toward the nationalist and religious parties. In the 2006 general election, the soldiers' vote gave Likud an extra seat, catapulting Netanyahu from head of a potentially insignificant faction into the position of opposition leader.

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