Early exit polls show former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to return to power in a Tuesday vote that reportedly had huge turnout – the largest the country has seen in over two decades.
Israel is on edge waiting for the results after five rounds of voting in three-and-a-half years, which still has yet to produce a clear winner and new government; instead there’s been nothing but gridlock and power-sharing arrangements so far.
Fox News reports as Israel approaches midnight local time, based on national media, “Early exit polls predicted that former prime minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu might very well be that winner this time around.”
And further: “His bloc of right-wing, religious parties was slated to draw up to 62 seats, the number of mandates needed to form a majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.”
And Haaretz is reporting:
Two of the three exit polls give the pro-Netanyahu bloc 62 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, with the other putting the party at 61. The anti-Netanyahu bloc won 54 seats, according to two exit polls, and 55 according to the third.
Fox cites Assaf Shapira, Director of the Political Reform Program at the Israel Democracy Institute, who points to all major exit polling pointing to the opposition “Bibi bloc” – a controversial alliance of far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties – holding a lead…
“All of the exit polls predict between 61-62 seats for the pro-Netanyahu political bloc, which was quite expected,” he said, adding however that previous exit polls in 2021 also gave Netanyahu between 61-62 seats, but they missed one small Arab party that ended up becoming a decisive factor that allowed the other factions to unite and oust Netanyahu from power.Advertisement
Results might not be known for a number of hours, or possibly days.
But then there’s still the potential scenario of gridlocked results stretching into more weeks or even months, possibly resulting in the current “transitional prime minister” period being extended.
Middle East Eye notes that “Months ago, Israelis started repeating a bitter joke that a sixth round of elections would follow these. Now that may soon become a nightmarish reality.”
“This is, in fact, not bad news for Yair Lapid. In case of 60-60 deadlock, no new government can be formed and Lapid gets to keep the title of ‘transitional prime minister’ for another six months,” MEE adds.