Israel Goes to the Polls Today; 1,200,000 Citizens to Cast Their Votes

Clear skies and warm sunshine today heralded near-perfect election conditions, as 1,200,000 Israeli voters prepared to go to the polls throughout Israel tomorrow in the country’s fourth national elections for Parliament.

As candidates and workers of all the 24 parties seeking seats in the new Parliament made last-minute electioneering efforts to win support for their slates, Minister of the Interior Israel Bar-Yehuda went on the air last night in a special appeal to the electorate to exercise its franchise and vote.

The cabinet minister’s special objective was the group of 180,000 men and women who are eligible to vote for the first time in this election. This section of the population is compose of recent immigrants or youngsters who have reached the voting age of 18 in the last four years.

Premier David Ben-Gurion, who sparked his Mapai Party’s drive for votes, wound up his platform efforts with a fighting campaign speech to 8,000 at Petach Tikva. His chief rival, Menachem Beigin, leader of the Herut Party, concluded his campaign with a spectacular motor cavalcade through the poorer quarters of Tel Aviv. The 40-car procession stopped in each quarter, and Beigin spoke. His audiences were estimated at 40,000. Mapai Party officials said today that Premier Ben-Gurion had directly reached audiences totalling 320,000 during the campaign.

The polls will remain open tomorrow night until midnight, to give everyone full opportunity to vote. The Israel State Radio will start broadcasting results two hours later, although final results are not expected to be announced for at least three days. Under the proportional representation system here, the electors cast their ballots for slates rather than for individual candidates, and the process of working out the allocation of seats among the parties in accordance with the percentage of the vote they received is a complex one.

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