Israelis vote in second election in five months

Sun Online Desk

17th September, 2019 11:04:53 printer

Israelis vote in second election in five months

 

Israelis are voting in their country's second general election in five months.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority after April's vote, reports BBC.

The final opinion polls put his right-wing Likud party neck and neck with its main challenger, the centrist Blue and White party led by former military chief Benny Gantz.

Smaller parties could therefore have a big say in the final outcome.

Negotiations on the formation of a new coalition are expected to start as soon as voting ends at 22:00 (19:00 GMT) and exit polls are published.

What happened last time?

Likud and Blue and White came away with 35 seats each in the 120-seat Knesset.

Mr Netanyahu declared victory and it appeared that he would be able to secure a majority with the backing of smaller right-ring and religious parties. But after several chaotic weeks the attempted coalition-building collapsed into recriminations.

Why could smaller parties be key?

The final polls suggested no clear route to government for either Mr Netanyahu or Mr Gantz.

Avigdor Lieberman, an ally-turned-rival of the prime minister and leader of the right-wing secular Yisrael Beiteinu party, could end up holding the balance of power.

He prevented Mr Netanyahu forming a coalition after the last election because he refused to back down in a longstanding dispute with religious parties over a bill governing exemptions from military service for ultra-Orthodox young men.

Mr Lieberman has said the only way he will help return Mr Netanyahu to office after Tuesday's vote is if Likud agrees to a secular unity government and shares power with Blue and White - something the prime minister has ruled out.

 


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