Arab list leader calls for wide participation in polls

JERUSALEM

A senior Arab member of the Israeli parliament on Tuesday called on Arab voters to participate in general elections.

Ayman Odeh asked voters to cast their ballots in favor of the Joint List of Arab parties in the ongoing early elections.

“It will allow us to fight for peace, equality and social justice for everyone,” Odeh said after casting his vote in Haifa city.

“We want to contribute to prevent the extreme right led by the obsessed Benjamin Netanyahu from continuing to rule,” he added.

Israeli polls predicted that the Joint List, a political alliance of mainly Arab-dominated political parties, will come in third place with 11 seats.

According to the Joint List, Arab voters number one million ballots, while official figures indicate that 50% of eligible Arab voters participated in elections last April compared to 63% in the elections held in 2015.

Israelis began casting their ballots for the country’s early parliamentary elections on Tuesday morning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called upon his supporters to vote, saying results would be close with the Blue and White Alliance.

“I told President Trump that results will be close in the Israeli elections, therefore go and cast your vote,” Netanyahu said.

Israel is holding its second general elections this year, due to Netanyahu’s failure to form a government after the previous poll conducted in April. Observers expect there may be a third round of elections if the crisis of forming government continues.

The Israeli Central Elections Committee said in a statement on Tuesday that more than 6.3 million people were eligible to vote at 10,915 polling stations across the country which are set to close at 10:00 p.m. (1900GMT) on Tuesday.

Thirty-two electoral lists are competing for 120 seats in the Israeli parliament, or Knesset. Observers and opinion polling centers expect only 10 of those lists to win the parliamentary race.
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