Israel voted on Tuesday in a tight race between hawkish former premier Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, with the far-right set for major gains on the back of the Gaza war.
Despite predictions stormy weather would turnout low, 23.4 per cent of the almost 5.3 million electorate had voted five hours after polling stations opened.
Campaigning for the election has been dominated by security following Israel’s war on Gaza and its Hamas rulers.
With low turnouts typically favouring smaller right-wing parties, Livni’s governing Kadima was taking no chances with the weather and reportedly bought 10,000 umbrellas to hand out to voters.
“Rain or no rain, cold or heat, you must come to the polling booth,” Livni, 50, said after voting in Tel Aviv. “Not out of despair, but out of hope.”