Likud Fears It May Score Only 31 Seats in Light of Party's Low Voter Turnout

Netanyahu traveling around the country to encourage voters to go to the polls.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Haaretz late Tuesday afternoon that voter turnout in Likud strongholds around Israel were low, highlighting the growing fear within his party that it may be crashing in the election. As the evening wore on, Netanyahu was continuing his efforts to awaken Likud voters across the country.

The atmosphere at Likud campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv was very tense over the course of the day, and a number of Likud ministers and other senior officials looked visibly worried. One senior Likud official said he was concerned about low figures in the television exit polls and in the actual results. Another senior official said: “As of now, there will only be 31 seats. We have four hours to change the picture.”

However, it is entirely possible that the messages of concern and nervousness that Likud senior figures seemed to be conveying were designed to urge complacent voters to go to the polls. As opposed to the apparent pressure other Likud leaders were under, Tzachi Hanegbi, who is in charge of Election Day for Likud-Beiteinu, seemed optimistic. He revised his earlier prediction of 37 seats upward to 39 Monday afternoon.

Netanyahu put in appearances at several Likud strongholds Monday around midday, beginning in Ashdod where he met with Mayor Yehiel Lasri and former soccer star Haim Revivo, who is campaigning for Likud.

From Ashdod, Netanyahu moved on to Tel Aviv where he consulted with Likud ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan, Moshe Kahlon, and Yuval Steinitz as well as with Hanegbi. From Tel Aviv, Netanyahu continued on to Netanya, considered a Likud stronghold.

Speaking at Likud campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said: “People must go vote so we’ll be strong, and go back to the coffee shops later."

PM Netanyahu at the Western Wall with his son on election day, January 22, 2013. Credit: Mark Israel Salem

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