Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu faces the worst setback

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu faces the worst setback
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JERUSALEM - Israel’s right bloc led by premier Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to get the majority of votes essential to form coalition in the parliament, according to exit polls.

Exit polls suggest that the right bloc led by Netanyahu’s Likud Party failed to secure 61 seats in the parliament to form a coalition government in the country.

According to KAN, Israel 's public broadcasting body, Likud-led right bloc bagged a total of 56 seats whereas the bloc of centrist Blue and White alliance led Benny Gantz and left parties secured 43 lawmakers.

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party was able to secure 10 seats in the parliament, making it a key element in the scenario of a coalition. Lieberman’s party earlier refused to join the ranks of Netanyahu’s coalition in the previous election.

The bloc of Palestinians was able to send a total of 12 lawmakers to the parliament.

Another exit poll by Channel 13 says Netanyahu’s Likud Party won 31 seats and his right bloc a total of 54 seats whereas the Blue and White party won 33.

The channel exit poll gave 13 seats for the [Arab] Joint List and eight each for Yisrael Beytenu, Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and six each for Yamina, the Democratic Union and Labor-Gesher.

Channel 12 exit poll predicted 34 for Blue and White, 33 for Likud, 11 for the Joint List, eight each for Yamina, Yisrael Beytenu, Shas, and UTJ and five each for the Democratic Union and Labor-Gesher.

Channel 11’s poll gave 32 each for Blue and White and Likud, 12 for the Joint List, 10 for Yisrael Beytenu, nine for Shas, eight for UTJ, seven for Yaimina and five each for the Democratic Union and Labor-Gesher.

The final unofficial results were only expected on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Central Elections Committee, voter turnout as of 8 p.m. stands at 63.7%, up 1.5% from April.

Israel is holding its second general elections this year, due to Netanyahu's failure to form a government after the previous poll. Observers expect there may be a third round of elections if the crisis over forming a government continues.

The committee said in a statement that more than 6.3 million people were eligible to vote at 10,915 polling stations across Israel which are set to close at 10:00 p.m. (1900GMT) on Tuesday.

Thirty-two electoral lists are competing for 120 seats in the Knesset. Observers and opinion polling centers expect only 10 of those lists to win the parliamentary race. -Anadolu Agency

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