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The numbers game in Israel's presidential race: Who is voting for whom?
By LAHAV HARKOV
06/10/2014
Dozens of MKs were still undecided and the presidential race seemed relatively open Monday evening, especially in the second round. Any guess as to who the winner will be would be fairly tenuous.
 
Dozens of MKs were still undecided and the presidential race seemed relatively open on Tuesday morning, especially in the second round. Any guess as to who the winner will be would be fairly tenuous.

In the first round of voting, however, a general map of the votes began to become clear the day before lawmakers were to vote.

Unless the unlikely scenario in which one candidate receives 61 votes comes true in the first round of voting, a second round will follow half an hour later, in which the top two candidates will face off against each other.

Rivlin seemed to be a sure thing for the second round, with around 50 votes comprised of a sampling of MKs from every faction in the House, except for Hatnua and Balad. Most of Likud is expected to vote for him, as are all of Bayit Yehudi's MKs.

In Labor, MKs Shelly Yacimovich and Miki Rosenthal and said they would vote for Rivlin, and others in the party are expected to follow suit. MKs Ilan Gilon (Meretz) also announced he supports Rivlin, and Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta'al) is thought to, as well. In Yesh Atid, only MK Boaz Toporovsky committed to voting for Rivlin.

Rivlin will also get votes from Shas MKs - he has a letter of support from the party's recently deceased spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - and legislators from the Agudat Yisrael party within the United Torah Judaism faction.

In short, it will be very surprising if Rivlin does not make it to the second round.

That leaves the question of who will be Rivlin's competition, with the two Dalias in the lead.

Itzik also has supporters in most parties, including haredi MKs who are willing to vote for her despite her gender, Likud and Yisrael Beytenu lawmakers who are not on good terms with Rivlin, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and a few from Yesh Atid, Labor and Arab parties, most likely bringing her to over 20 votes.

Still, Dorner is nipping at Itzik's heels.

The former Supreme Court justice gained from MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) dropping out of the race over corruption allegations, with much of Labor and Meretz pledging to support her.

Labor MKs Stav Shaffir and Moshe Mizrachi followed in the footsteps of many on the left and announced that they would vote for Dorner, who also has support of lawmakers in Arab parties and Yesh Atid, bringing her to nearly 20 votes.

To reach the second round, Dorner would need Sheetrit to be successful in efforts to convince haredi MKs to choose him over Itzik. The Hatnua MK is estimated to have 11 votes, with six from his own party and about five from Yesh Atid, but is working hard on getting haredi support.

Not one MK has openly declared he or she will vote for Shechtman, though several in Yesh Atid are considering it.

As for the second round, all bets are off. Some of Dorner's supporters on the left said that if the race is between Rivlin and Itzik, they won't vote for either.

At the same time, if the race is Rivlin versus Dorner, haredi MKs will have to choose between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's candidate (even if he supported Rivlin reluctantly) who voted for haredi enlistment, and a representative from the state institution haredim most abhor, the Supreme Court.

Sheetrit says that if he reaches the second round he'll win, because most of the left will vote for him, plus Yesh Atid and all those on the right who don't like Rivlin.

And if Shechtman reaches the second round, well, his prayers for a miracle will have already be answered once. Maybe he'll get two miracles.

Or maybe there won't be any surprise, and Rivlin, the candidate that has been campaigning for seven years, will become president.
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