- Title: ISRAEL: SHARON CASTS BALLOT IN CRUCIAL PARTY VOTE.
- Date: 9th December 2004
- Summary: (U4) TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (DECEMBER 9, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. GV/PAN: ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON ARRIVING AT POLLING STATION 0.24 2. CU/PAN/GV: SHARON ENTERING VOTING BOOTH; SHARON CASTING HIS VOTE (2 SHOTS) 1.11 3. (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) SHARON SAYING THAT HE HOPES ALL THE LIKUD MEMBERS WILL COME AND VOTE BECAUSE IT IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE AND A LOT IS AT STAKE; WIDE VIEW OF SHARON "The world is looking today at Israel, whether she is moving forward with security in the peace process, with her economy and with how she deals with poverty. Therefore it is of utmost importance to come here today and to vote. Either Israel goes forward or she goes backwards and goes into an election campaign." 1.50 4. CU/MV: YOUNG WOMAN'S HAND; YOUNG MALE AND FEMALE POLLING BOOTH WORKERS (2 SHOTS) 1.57 5. GV/PAN: CABINET MINISTER TZAHI HANEGBI VOTING 2.13 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CABINET MINISTER TZAHI HANEGBI, SAYING: "I supported the initiative of the Prime Minister and the minister of the Likud to allow us to have an effective negotiation in order to enlarge the coalition and to allow the government to function until the end of its term." 2.27 7. GV: VARIOUS OF VOTING HALL (2 SHOTS) 2.43 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 24th December 2004 12:00
- Location: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
- Country: Israel
- Reuters ID: LVA3E7ZVK47O3BSAQLZ5KCY3U4XZ
- Story Text: Israeli Prime Minister Sharon casts his ballot in
crucial party vote.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon voted on
Thursday (December 9) in a ballot crucial to his Likud
A failure of the vote for a governing alliance with the
Labour Party could force snap elections and derail Sharon's
Gaza withdrawal plan, scheduled for 2005.
Internal polls predict victory for Sharon in the ballot
by the rightist Likud's Central Committee on whether to
allow him to open talks with centre-left Labour on joining
a unity coalition to rebuild his shattered government.
But mindful that voter turnout could affect the outcome,
Sharon made a last-ditch appeal to the 3,000 committee
members not to tie his hands.
Voting went ahead after a Tel Aviv court rejected an
11th-hour challenge by Likud hardliners to delay the vote.
The Likud committee members were being asked to
authorise coalition talks with Labour as well as two
ultra-Orthodox parties. Results were expected by late on
Likud rebels who oppose Sharon's plan to withdraw from
Gaza and evacuate four of 120 settlements in the West Bank
next year have used their influence in the party to
But Sharon hopes that Thursday's non-binding vote will
free him of constraints by revoking a Central Committee ban
issued in August against bringing dovish Labour into his
"The world is looking today at Israel, whether she is
moving forward with security in the peace process, with her
economy and with how she deals with poverty. Therefore it
is of utmost importance to come here today and to vote.
Either Israel goes forward or she goes backwards and goes
into an election campaign," Sharon said on Thursday after
casting his vote.
The plan to withdraw from Gaza, captured along with the
West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, enjoys broad support
among Israelis. But opponents call it a "reward for terror".
The spectre of elections, almost two years ahead of
schedule, may be persuasive for party members as voters
yearning for political stability could take out their anger
on Likud by reducing its 40-seat strength in the 120-member
Sharon's coalition has whittled down to a minority
government with the departure of ultra-nationalist parties
over opposition to his Gaza plan.
He ousted the secularist Shinui party last week after
it voted against the 2005 budget in protest at funding for
That triggered a political crisis he hoped to resolve
by setting up a stable coalition with Labour and at least
one ultra-Orthodox party.
Sharon now needs a majority to pass the budget by March
to avoid automatic elections.
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