In a big surprise, Labor will field more lists of candidates in the October 22 municipal elections than Likud.

A Labor spokesman said his party would present more than 70 lists by Tuesday’s deadline, while a spokeswoman for Likud faction chairman Yariv Levin said he would approve only 60 lists.

Party officials attributed the large number of lists fielded by Labor to the fact that party leader Shelly Yacimovich is up for reelection a month later and she wants to show the party’s strength. The Likud’s leader, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has not taken an interest in the municipal races.

Likud candidates in the municipal elections complained this week that banks have not extended the party’s credit in order to fund their races. The Likud asked Bank Leumi to raise the party’s credit limit, but Leumi refused, as did two other banks.

A Likud spokeswoman blamed the bank’s refusal on the NIS 15 million debt the party incurred in January’s general election.

“The banks have decided on principle not to extend the credit of political parties,” she said. “Every list wants to receive as much money as possible from the party, but we have our limits.”

A Labor spokesman said his party has also had trouble with the banks but not as much as in the past. He said the party’s financial situation had improved tremendously since its debts had fallen from more than NIS 120m. to NIS 20m. over the past several years.

The State Comptroller’s Office has prevented candidates in the municipal elections from receiving donations of more than NIS 5,000, including from the candidates themselves.

Thursday was the final day for citizens to ensure that the Interior Ministry had their proper addresses for the election. Each citizen eligible to vote will receive his or her polling place and its hours of operation in the mail by October 1.

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