Parties begin submitting Knesset lists

40 parties will submit lists before deadline this week; 28 parties will compete over nine unused letters for ballots.

December 5, 2012 04:43
2 minute read.
Voting in Israel.

Israeli Ballot (R370). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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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.

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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 tzadi.

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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 Breslov’s name.


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 times.

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 Knesset mandate.

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.

A 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.

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