Exit polls released by all three of Israel’s main TV networks on Tuesday project a narrow victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc — but the picture could still change as official results come in.
Why it matters: Three inconclusive elections have left Israel in a prolonged political crisis. If Netanyahu’s bloc does win a majority in Israel’s fourth election in two years, he could form the most religious and conservative coalition in the history of the country and potentially take steps to undercut his corruption trial.
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What to watch: The exit polls are not official results, and they will continue to be updated as real numbers come in.
One way the picture could change would be if the Arab Ra’am party, which is projected to miss the 3.25% electoral threshold, does manage to hit that mark and enter the Knesset. That would dramatically change the balance between the two blocs.
By the numbers:
According to the Channel 13 exit poll: Netanyahu’s Likud Party is projected to win 33 seats and his right-wing bloc a total of 61. The center-left bloc is projected to win 59 seats with opposition leader Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid Party projected to win 16.
According to Channel 12 exit poll: Likud is projected to win 31 seats, the right-wing bloc 61, the center-left bloc 59 and Yesh Atid 18.
According to the Channel 11 exit poll: Likud is projected to win 31 seats, the right-wing bloc 61 the center-left bloc 59 and Yesh Atid 18.
Between the lines: Even if the polls prove accurate, forming a government could be tricky.
The 61-seat projection for Netanyahu’s bloc includes a conservative party led by former tech entrepreneur Naftali Bennet, who had been trying to position himself as a non-aligned kingmaker but more recently appears to have moved into Netanyahu’s column.
Worth noting: Tuesday’s election saw the lowest turnout since 2009, and was particularly low among Israel’s Arab majority. Parties from the Arab Joint List could see their representation shrink by 40%-50%.
The radical right-wing “Religious Zionism” list, which includes members of a Jewish supremacist party, is projected to win 6-7 seats.
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Israeli election: Exit polls project narrow Netanyahu victory – Yahoo News