Decrease in Israel\'s Voter Turnout in Initial Hours
Only eleven percent of four million eligible voters in the first three hours voted in the Israeli premiership elections, reported Haaretz newspaper, quoting Israeli Radio.
The army vote began Sunday, but will close at the same time as the regular polls, said The Jerusalem Post newspaper, adding that some 35,000 people will be voting at the country's 184 hospitals.
10,000 prisoners and jailers will be able to vote in 42 prisons.
Overseas voters have already cast their ballots, but only 66 percent of the 3,750 eligible overseas voters chose to do so, the Post added.
This is much lower than the normal voter turnout rate in Israel, which stood at 79 percent in the last two elections (1996 and 1999).
In the 1999 prime ministerial race, 180,000 invalid ballots were cast, of which the lion's share were blank ballots (blank ballots are not counted separately). Meanwhile, Haaretz said that Arab area witnesses a very low turnout.
Umm al-Fahm has experienced an extremely low voter turnout, with only five people having voted so far.
As of (0800 GMT), 0.01 percent of eligible Arab voters have voted so far, said the paper, adding that in the village of Taibeh only 10 people have cast their ballots.
In various Arab villages in the Galilee, hardly any voters arrived at the polling booths.
Routine daily life has been unaffected and the election cannot be felt, said the paper, adding that no election posters are visible in the villages.
Arab Israeli decided to boycott the elections in protest of the killing of thirteen people of their community in October -- Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)