Narrow exit poll results hold Israel in suspense: Even if Netanyahu beats Gantz, forming coalition would be challenging  09/17/2019 20:39:00 

Published time: 17 Sep, 2019 20:39 Edited time: 17 Sep, 2019 20:51

Narrow exit poll results hold Israel in suspense: Even if Netanyahu beats Gantz, forming coalition would be challenging

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is yet to see if his promises of annexing more land, regarded undermining the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, was enough to attract the votes and continue a decade of reign.

After voting ended on Tuesday night, two out of three exit polls give his main opponent Benjamin ‘Benny’ Gantz of the Kahol Lavan (Blue and White)  the edge. Channel 12’s poll shows his party leading with 34 Knesset seats, while Netanyahu's Likud’s getting 33, Channel 13’s exit survey put Blue and White at 33 seats and Likud at 31, and Kan’s put the two parties at a dead tie.

Based on the early exit polling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even if victorious, will be forced again to secure a governing coalition, having failed to earn a clear majority in the vote.

“Only time will tell whether the polls are correct, but certainly what we’re hearing at this stage is that there's been no outright winner, this was a close contest,” said RT Middle East bureau chief Paula Slier.

“Neither of them has won an outright majority, and more importantly, neither of them – looking at these initial exit polls – is able to form a majority coalition government.”

“So what this means essentially is that the country finds itself right now in the same position it was in six months ago,” Slier added.

The election itself is a result of a failure to form a government following the vote in April, in which Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Blue and White were tied at 35 Knesset seats each, with smaller parties dividing the remaining 50. Neither managed to attract enough smaller parties to reach the bare minimum of 61 seats needed for a government.

Also on Polls close in Israel: Historic snap election a referendum on Netanyahu & settlement annexations

Following the first election in April, PM Netanyahu wrangled with other right-wing party leaders to secure a ruling coalition, including the former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who many named a “kingmaker” for his ability to make or break Netanyahu's alliance. Tuesday’s results may place Lieberman back into that role.

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