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Final countdown to Israeli poll

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Final countdown to Israeli poll


The campaigning may be over ahead of Tuesday’s general election. But, as Israel’s political parties prepare themselves for the vote, one leader has put in a high-profile appearance. Amid tight security, Benjamin Netanyahu went to the Western Wall (the so-called Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem. A headline-grabbing “media opportunity” his visit may have been, but whether it will pick up votes remains to be seen.

The ex prime minister’s right-wing Likud party is trailing in third place, according to opinion polls. It is lagging behind centre-left Labour, led by Amir Peretz. The former trade union chief has been battling to focus the campaign on economic issues such as fighting poverty and raising the minimum wage.

Labour is a likely coalition partner for the centrist party widely tipped to come out on top – acting Premier Ehud Olmert’s Kadima. Pre-election surveys indicate it will take 35 or so seats in the 120-seat Knesset, meaning it will have to look for partners in government. Despite a slip in its lead, according to the most recent opinion polls, Kadima appears to be well on course for victory.

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