April 8, 1999
33 Parties File for Israeli Elections
Thirty-three Israeli political parties signed up by Tuesday night's registration deadline to run in the May 17 Knesset elections, breaking the previous record of 27 parties. In addition to the large political parties, several special-interest parties and newcomers to the political scene registered, including the Casino Party, which seeks to legalize gambling, and the Green Weed Party, whose platform calls for the legalization of marijuana and other recreational drugs.
Six candidates met Tuesday's deadline to run in Israel's May elections for prime minister: Likud incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak of Labor, centrist candidate Yitzhak Mordechai, right-wing bloc leader Ze'ev "Benny" Begin, Israeli Arab legislator Azmi Beshara and former right-wing Knesset member Yosef Ba-Gad. Begin's candidacy was almost invalidated when the election committee found that some 11,000 of the 58,000 signatures required to support his candidacy were forged. But Begin was allowed to run, after he secured the backing of 10 Knesset members, an alternative to the petitions. -- JTA
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