Elections 2009 / Labor, Meretz in Final Bid to Win Over Undecided Voters

Despite polls predicting defeat, Labor officials say party aims for no less than 20 Knesset seats.

After making campaign stops at bars, open markets and shopping malls in the days and nights leading up to the elections, Labor and Meretz candidates will visit polling stations around the country today.

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Labor leader Ehud Barak and his wife Nili Priel are scheduled to vote at 10 A.M., near their north Tel Aviv apartment. Then Barak will visit Kibbutz Maagan Michael and Labor headquarters, among other places.

Yesterday Barak visited several communities and took part in a Tu Bishvat tree-planting ceremony with his parents in Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon.

Labor party workers will concentrate efforts on transporting voters to the polls, including elderly voters who need help irrespective of their party affiliation.

Volunteers and workers will call hundreds of thousands of undecided voters in a last-ditch effort to get their vote, telling them that if they want Barak as defense minister they must vote for Labor.

Kadima hopes to beat Likud by encouraging left-leaning voters to support it, while Likud has adopted a hawkish stance in the hopes of bringing back voters who support the hard-line Yisrael Beiteinu.

Labor staged an election day dry run yesterday to test operations at various campaign headquarters as well as communication with party representatives at polling places. The Minister of the Diaspora, Society, and Fight Against Antisemitism, Isaac Herzog, who is in charge of election day organization for Labor, instructed activists to report to voting stations before they open and to gather in large groups in cities and at major highway intersections.

Despite the defeat predicted by public opinion polls, Labor figures reported "a positive atmosphere" yesterday. "The party is aiming for no less than 20 Knesset seats," a party spokesman said.

Herzog's main message to citizens yesterday was to vote for Labor to ensure its strength in possible coalition talks with Likud or Kadima, and not for small parties with no chance of meeting the minimum voting threshold.

At 10 P.M. party members will gather at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center to watch the television polls together.

New Movement-Meretz chairman MK Haim Oron will tour Bedouin villages in the south this morning while party candidate Nitzan Horowitz will visit the Ramat Aviv Mall and cafes on Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street. Some 1,000 Meretz activists will take to the roads in party vehicles and "Bibibusters" T-shirts urging people not to vote for Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud.

Party leaders, candidates and activists will meet at Tel Aviv's Tzavta theater to watch the election results together.