Forty parties are expected to submit lists to run for the next Knesset ahead of
Thursday’s 10 p.m. deadline.
Party representatives began lining up in the
Knesset on Tuesday night, and will be able to submit their lists and request the
letters on their voting slips on Wednesday morning.
The January 22
election will be conducted as in the past, via slips of paper dropped into
ballot boxes, each with a letter or combination of letters representing a party.
The 28 parties expected to register that are either new or that have run before
but never made it into the Knesset will have to compete over nine unused
letters: hay, zayin, yud, nun, pay, kuf, final kaf, final pay and final
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid originally wanted the letters yud and shin,
spelling “yesh,” which were used by his father Tommy Lapid’s Shinui party, but
Shas refused to share the letter shin. Yesh Atid was third in line on Tuesday
night, and was expected to request the letters pay and hey, spelling “poh,” the
Hebrew word for “here.”
The Tzipi Livni Party’s plan to use het and final
tzadi, spelling “hetz,” or “arrow,” were foiled by the Likud, whose slip reads
“Mahal” and has the letter het on its slip.
Strong Israel, the new party
led by former National Union MKs Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, plans to use
the word “netz,” “hawk,” but faces competition for the letter nun from a new
party representing Breslov hassids, “We Are All Friends,” which is expected to
request the letters nun and het, spelling the first letters of Rabbi Nachman of
No party is expected to use the letter zayin, which is
also a vulgar term for the male anatomy. In the past, parties have requested the
letter as a sign of defiance, for example the Bread Party, which ran for the
12th Knesset in 1988, the Anger – Social Justice Party, which ran for the 16th
in 2003, and the Men’s Rights Party, which has run several
Meanwhile, parties are working on agreements to share “surplus
votes,” those that do not add up to a whole seat in the Knesset. The extra votes
given to two parties that signed an agreement are added together, and then
divided by the relative size of each party, possibly resulting in an additional
Labor and Yesh Atid signed the first surplus vote
agreement of the campaign on Monday, breaking Labor’s tradition of working with
Meretz, which is expected to sign one with The Tzipi Livni Party.
Habayit Hayehudi source said the party plans to sign a surplus vote agreement
with the Likud on Wednesday.
Also this week, the Central Election
Committee decided not to accept votes from sailors at sea. According to law,
sailors must be allowed to vote on a vessel with 16 or more Israelis aboard, but
there will be no such ships during the election.