Katsav urges voter participation

President: Don't let others decide for you what the fate of the country should be.

katsav voting 88 (photo credit: )
katsav voting 88
(photo credit: )
"Don't let others decide for you what the fate of the country should be," urged President Moshe Katsav on Tuesday. "Whatever the outcome of the elections, it's preferable that the results are based on every citizen exercising the democratic right to vote." Katsav and his wife Gila voted at the School for the Arts on Elhanan Street behind the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem. The president noted that while failure to vote could be seen as a form of protest, that protest of this kind could backfire and take the incoming government in a direction other than that intended by the protesters. There appeared to be more foreign media than local media waiting for the president's arrival. "You seem to be less interested in the elections than we are," remarked a Canadian radio broadcaster. Accompanied by senior staff, Katsav greeted all four voting monitors, shook their hands and asked about the voter turnout and whether there had been problems. He was told that voting had been steady, although there had not been streams of voters. Gila Katsav went behind the voting screen prior to her husband and seemed slightly confused by the number of slips from which to choose. Someone came to explain to her what was what and then withdrew before she made her decision. The president was much more decisive and spent barely a second behind the screen. Asked later by reporters whether he had made up his mind some time ago as to which party would receive his vote or whether he had deliberated with himself before entering the polling station, Katsav refrained from a reply, explaining that whatever he said was bound to be misinterpreted, so he would rather not say. Katsav mentioned that he hoped to start his round of consultative talks with party representatives by Sunday, providing that the election results will have been published in by then. Election results do not have to be published immediately. According to Article 11 of Basic Law: The Knesset, the outcome of the elections must be published in Reshumot within eight days from the date of the elections, after which the President of the State, in accordance with Article 7(a), The Basic Law, The Government has seven days in which to consult with representatives of the different parties so as to determine the most suitable member of Knesset on whom the president will confer the responsibility of forming the next government. The conferment is not an order, but a request, and the MK who is selected has the right to refuse. The MK does not necessarily have to be the leader of any party or faction. The parliamentarian chosen to form the next government has 28 days in which to do so, but may receive an extension of up to 14 days at the discretion of the president. The latest date on which the election results can be published is April 5, and the date by which the president must decide on a candidate to form the next government is April 12, which is on the eve of Pessah. Katsav said that he wants to complete his discussions and make his decision well in advance of the time that the law allows him.