Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen short of securing a parliamentary majority with his hard-right allies in Israel’s unprecedented second election, exit polls and preliminary results have shown. The apparent set back dealt a devastating blow to the embattled prime minister who is campaigning under the shadow of indictment across three corruption cases and so fighting for his political survival.
The polls were posted by Israel’s three major TV stations after polling stations closed across the country, indicating his political future could be in doubt. Partial results released hours later by the country’s elections commissions, based on over 40 per cent of the vote counted, also showed Mr Netanyahu, his Likud party and their allies had failed to win an outright majority.
Mr Netanyahu had sought a clear victory with his right-wing partners to secure immunity from three expected corruption trials. Equally damning was that none of the polls found that Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc would be able to secure the 61-seat majority of the Knesset needed to form a government.
Partial results released by the central elections committee Wednesday morning, meanwhile, showed a tie between Blue and White and Likud. Israel media reported the same outcome, but based on more than 90 per cent of the vote counted, and did not explain the discrepancy with the commission’s percentage.
With Israeli media reporting more than 90 percent of votes counted in Tuesday’s election, the bloc led by Netanyahu’s Likud party was more or less even with a likely grouping headed by Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party.
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