Netanyahu falls short of majority in exit polls

Netanyahu falls short of majority in exit polls
The election has been widely seen as a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is predicted to fall short of sealing the parliament seats needed to form a new government, according to exit polls.

Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies are predicted to win 52 or 53 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

Parties opposed Me Netanyahu staying in office look set to win 60.

It means that even with the support of the nationalist Yamina party, the current Prime Minister would not have a majority.

Yamina is led by former Netanyahu loyalist Naftali Bennett and the party is forecast to win seven seats, but has not explicitly declared which side it will support.

After the exit polls were released, Mr Bennett said in a statement: “I will do only what is good for the State of Israel.”

He added that he had told Benjamin Netanyahu that Yamina Party would await the final results before deciding on its next steps.

The country’s Central Elections Committee does not expect all of the votes to be counted before Wednesday afternoon due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In a tweet late on Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu thanked his supporters saying: “You gave a huge win to the right and Likud under my leadership. Likud is the biggest party by far.”

He added: “It’s clear most Israelis are right-wing, and want a strong, stable right-wing government.”

Meanwhile the main opposition leader Yair Lapid said he was “proud” of his party’s “enormous” achievement. Mr Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party is projected to win between 16 and 18 seats in the Knesset.

He said: “I have already begun this evening to hold talks with some of the leaders of the bloc for change and will continue in the next few days,” adding that he would “do everything possible to establish a sane government in the State of Israel”.

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