The Likud’s election committee decided to add an extra day of voting in the
party’s primary Monday to make up for computer glitches across the country that
plagued the party all day Sunday.
Fifty of the 132 polling stations will
be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to give another chance to the half of the
123,351 Likud members who did not vote Sunday. While the 50 percent turnout on
Sunday was higher than the 48% who voted in the last election four years ago,
the election committee decided the additional day of voting was needed to make
the vote fair, and avoid potential lawsuits.
A Likud spokeswoman said
there were polling stations where fewer than 10% of eligible voters cast their
Likud officials said it was likely the party would sue Aman, the
computer company that orchestrated the polling. Aman deputy director- general
Tzvika Raz blamed the problem on hackers, while others familiar with the
situation blamed Likud for not paying for enough bandwidth for the computers at
the polling stations.
When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voted in the
morning in Givat Ze’ev, he boasted that the computer system worked for him and
urged people to come out and vote. But as he spoke, polling stations were closed from Haifa and Beit She’an to Jerusalem and Modi’in.
is a farce,” said Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who came second after
Netanyahu in the last Likud primary. “It should be stopped immediately and set
for another day.”
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz added that “the
technological problems ruined the festive atmosphere, are annoying, and make the
process questionably democratic.”
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Minister Yuli Edelstein said it was important to make sure no results from the
first day of voting would be leaked. He urged the party to ban signs and banners
at polling stations Monday, because they give wealthier candidates an unfair
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin attempted to vote on Sunday
morning, but left in anger when unable to do so, and returned later.
after, Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor arrived and voted immediately,
but waited nearly an hour for his son to come out of his voting booth, where the
The booths on the way to the ballots were buzzing
with activity, with volunteers in campaign T-shirts distributing a seemingly
endless supply of fliers, stickers and loudspeakers competing to play each
candidate’s song louder than the others.
Over 100 Likud members waited
outside the Jerusalem International Convention Center to exercise their
democratic right early Sunday afternoon, as only two out of 40 computers were
working. Security let voters trickle in, three to five at a time, a guard said,
but many in line were frustrated.
Polina Balaclav and her 89-year-old
mother waited in the area for several hours, visiting booths where activists
distributed stickers and fliers, and occasionally checking on the
“This is very frustrating. It wasn’t this big of a mess in previous
years,” Balaclav said. “The people who made the [computer] program messed
up. They’re making people worried, and couldn’t do the right thing on
Ami, a middle-aged, first-time Likud voter who had been on
line for 45 minutes, said he would probably have to leave to return to work
before he got to the front of the line.
“I waited two hours, but a lot of
people left before they were able to vote,” a haredi man, 25, said. “I stayed
because of my ideology. I voted for right-wing people.”
18, was excited to have voted for the first time. Bitton handed out fliers for
coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, whose Gangnam Style-parodying campaign video
played in a booth adorned with his banners.
“I came at the
very beginning and waited half-an-hour before I voted,” Bitton said. “A lot of
people are leaving and saying they’ll return at night.”
of the lesserknown primary candidates walked around the booths and talked to
Emmanuel Navon, a self-described “French Anglo” and lecturer in
political science and communications at Tel Aviv University and the
Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya running for the new immigrant spot, said
many Likud members left without being able to vote, disgruntled by the long
lines and malfunctioning computers.
Though many on line were holding
prepared lists of candidates sent to them by Likud pressure groups, Navon said
he is sure that “at the end of the day, most people decide by
“I’m the only Western immigrant running in this spot,” Navon
explained. “All the others are from Ethiopia or Russia. I’m trying to set a
Meanwhile, Ariel Morali, a party activist and employee at the
Menachem Begin Heritage Center running for the young candidates’ spot, waited by
the booths, hoping that the long line to vote would disappear.
been active with young people in Likud for years, and I hope people will
appreciate that,” he said, when asked of his chances to make it into the next
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