Netanyahu refuses to concede as retired General Gantz has claimed his parties ‘mission accomplished.’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fight on even as exit polls showing him tied or lagging behind his main opposition rival, with a slim chance of assembling a coalition needed for a fifth term.

After the voting ended on Tuesday, two out of three exit polls gave Gantz a lead over Netanyahu. Channel 12’s poll shows his party leading with 34 seats in the Knesset, while Netanyahu’s Likud’s getting 33.

An exit survey by Channel 13 put Blue and White at 33 seats and Likud at 31, while another put the two parties dead even.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is yet to see if his promises of annexing more land and undermining the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, were enough to attract enough votes to continue a decade in power.

Former General Benjamin Gantz has been less outspokenly hawkish, but the Palestinians remember him as the military commander who oversaw the 2012 and 2014 hostile operations against Gaza.

If the exit polling is anything to go by, whoever gets the most votes will still have a very difficult time setting up a coalition government. That requires the magic number of 61 seats in the Knesset for the bare-bones majority.

Israel operates on a proportional representation system, with a low threshold of 3.25%, which means the many smaller parties will probably tip the balance between the two major ones.

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 61.

Netanyahu’s chief rival for the premiership, retired General Benjamin ‘Benny’ Gantz, gave his followers a cheerful “mission accomplished” speech in the early hours of Wednesday, encouraged by the exit polls.

Negotiations to form a national unity government are under way, Gantz said. Blue and White has previously said they were open to such a government with Likud, but only without Netanyahu anywhere in the picture.

RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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