- Title: ISRAEL: Second largest party leader Yachimovich votes
- Date: 22nd January 2013
- Summary: TAYBEH, ISRAEL (JANUARY 22, 2013) (REUTERS) AHMED TIBI, ISRAELI-ARAB LAWMAKER ARRIVING AT POLLING STATION TO CAST HIS VOTE SIGN READING: 'ARAB MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ISRAELI-ARAB LAWMAKER, AHMED TIBI, SAYING: "Get out and vote, vote and make a difference, vote and adjust. We will meet again today after the victory as we have always done" TIBI BEHIND BOOTH TIBI CASTING HIS VOTE
- Embargoed: 6th February 2013 12:00
- Location: Israel
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVANPQQQ70TLHJ6BMNVR13BMLI6
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Labour Leader Shelly Yachimovich voted in Israel's parliamentary election on Tuesday (January 22).
"I can only say that the letters on the ballot are the opposite of the word 'lie' (referring to Hebrew word truth which is Labour's initials on the paper ballots) it represents us faithfully so good luck to us all," Yachimovich said as she stood behind the booth to cast her vote.
Israeli media reported that Yachimovich had arrived at the polling station without her identification card. An aid to Yachimovich went to her house and retrieve the identification card in order for the Labour Party leader to cast her vote.
Opinion polls forecast a respectable second-place finish with up to 17 seats for the centre-left party, now focused on pocketbook rather than peace issues, with talks on Palestinian statehood frozen since 2010 in a dispute over Israel's settlement-building policies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing alliance with former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu is predicted to win 32 seats and form the next coalition.
Israel's Labour Party has been in decline in the past decade since the peace it sought with the Palestinians unravelled into violence.
But this year the centre-left party, bolstered by public discontent with high living costs and the flagging political fortunes of the once-governing centrist Kadima party, seems poised for its strongest parliamentary showing in years.
While Netanyahu played his security card, a revamped Labour Party was using economic and social issues to try to claw its way back, focusing on Israeli concerns about rising living costs.
Yachimovich, a former journalist, has said she will not join a Netanyahu government.
Also on Tuesday, Israeli-Arab lawmaker and leader Ahmed Tibi cast his vote in his hometown Taybeh.
"Get out and vote, vote and make a difference, vote and adjust," Tibi told his supporters at the polling station.
Tibi is the chairman of the Arab Movement for Renewal (Raam-Taal). In the last Knesset, he was the deputy speaker of the Knesset.
The 55-year-old politician served as an advisor to late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and represented the Palestinians at 1998 negotiations with Israel.
He resigned upon his decision to run for the Knesset.
Tibi is known for the 'Tibi law' initiated in 2012, regularising compensation given by airlines to their customers for delayed or cancelled flights.
Under Israel's proportional representation system, experts say Arab groups could secure up to 20 of parliament's 120 seats if the turnout was higher and if squabbling Arab politicians managed to present a more united front.
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