ISRAEL: Exit Polls Point To Narrow Re-Election For PM Netanyahu
very narrow margin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged the bruised winner of Israel's election on Tuesday, with his hawkish bloc unexpectedly losing ground to resurgent center-left challengers, exit polls showed. They suggested the Israeli leader's Likud party, yoked with the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu group, would still be the biggest bloc in the 120-member assembly with 31 seats, 11 fewer than the 42 they held in the previous parliament. If the exit polls compiled by three Israeli television channels prove correct, Netanyahu would be on course to secure a third term in office, perhaps leading a hardline coalition that would promote Jewish settlement on occupied land. But his weakened showing in an election he himself called earlier than necessary could complicate the struggle to forge an alliance with a stable majority in parliament. The projections showed right-wing parties with a combined strength of 61-62 seats against 58-59 for the center-left.Today's voter turnout was reported to be the highest in more than a decade.