On Tuesday, despite the stormy weather in Tel Aviv, Israelis set out to vote in a closely contested election between right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu and the centrist Kadima party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Opinion polls were long predicting a decisive victory for the hard-line Likud Party, headed by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However new polls released over the weekend showed the Kadima Party, led by moderate Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, closing the gap.
After casting her vote at a Tel Aviv polling station, Livni called on Israelis to do the same despite stormy weather, the Associated Press reported. I have just done what I want every citizen in Israel to do - first of all to get out of the house, rain or no rain, cold or hot, go out, go to the polling station, go into the booth, close your eyes, and vote, Livni said.
Livni, 50, led peace talks with the Palestinians on a two-state solution, which stalled last year but which U.S.President Barack Obama wants to resume.
Netanyahu, 59, on the other hand shows more resistance in ceding occupied territory to Palestinians.
Should Livni win, she will be the first female prime minister since Golda Meir in the 1970s. Livini previously worked for the Mossad intelligence agency.
Israelis vote by party, and parliament seats are allocated by proportional representation to national party lists.
The party with most votes is usually then called to form the government.