(photo credit: )
As of 8:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, some 59.7 percent of the 5.2 million people eligible to vote had cast their ballots at the 9,263 polling stations available nationwide, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) said.
The turnout was 2.6% higher than the figure registered at the same stage of the 2006 general election, but 2% lower than the previous elections in 2003.
2006 saw the lowest turnout rate in Israeli history, with only 63.55% of voters casting their ballots by the day's end. The previous record had been set in the 2003 elections, with a 67.8 percent voter turnout.
Throughout the day, the CEC warned that no exit polls were to be published until the last polling stations close at 10 p.m.
Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said that elections day ran smoothly across the country, adding that police preparations and large mobilization of officers had helped prevent disruptions to the balloting.
Cohen visited CEC Chairman Judge Eliezer Rivlin at his bureau in Jerusalem and briefed him on the day's proceedings.
Rivlin praised the police's conduct and emphasized the police's handling of tensions at Umm el-Fahm, where police banned far-right activist Baruch Marzel from entering the town.
"The police's conduct was wise and effective," Rivlin said, adding that the police's decisions had prevented flash points from spiraling out of control.
The Israel Prisons Authority reported that 54 percent of prisoners eligible to vote had cast their ballot by Tuesday evening, adding that 44 out of the 56 polling stations had closed. "No unusual incidents took place," the IPA said in a statement.
The police's southern district also reported a quiet day, reporting a peaceful elections day "from Ashdod to Eilat."
Southern District Chief Cmdr. Yohanan Danino toured a number of voting centers in the Negev and Lachish subdistrict, and also visited Beduin areas.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>