Israeli Election: Soldiers' votes still to be counted

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The Independent Online
Who are they, these 154,000 people whose votes remain uncounted in the painfully close Israeli election, where Binyamin Netanhayu's lead now stands at 20,000?

Prisoners, patients and soldiers - none of them likely tosave Shimon Peres.

"The bulk of those votes are from soldiers, stationed away from their homes, in Lebanon for example," one Israeli source explained. The exact number of soldiers' votes is not released, for security reasons. But, the source added: "It's worth noting that the army generally votes to the right of the general population."

Among the few thousand ballots of prisoners awaiting counting is, presumably, that of Yigal Amir, sentenced to life for the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, last November.

The rest of the ballots come from a few thousand people hospitalised on voting day, from 200 sailors, and from "a few thousand" Israelis working overseas, as diplomats and representatives of Israeli industries. But the race is not yet over. Israel has a conscript army, randomly recruited, and their voting habits may be split, just like the nation itself.