A candidate in the Israeli election for Prime Minister has withdrawn from the race a day before voters are due to go to the polls. The Centre Party candidate, Yitzhak Mordechai, urged his supporters to vote for the Labour Party candidate Ehud Barak. Mr. Mordechai’s withdrawal was followed within several hours later by that of Benny Begin, the son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Middle East analysts say that Mr. Mordechai's withdrawal improves Mr. Barak's chances of ousting Benjamin Netanyahu. Supporters of the Labour candidate are hopeful that their candidate, Ehud Barak, might win on the first round. The minority Arab candidate, Azmi Bishara, announced his withdrawal yesterday.