Israeli election: Gantz upsets Netanyahu in exit polls
London, Sep 18, 2019 (AltAfrica)-In an apparent setback for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, challenger Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White Party is slightly ahead of his Likud Party, according to exit polls.
The results posted by Israel’s three major TV stations indicated Netanyahu’s political future could also be in doubt.
According to the exit poll, the longtime Israeli leader fell short of securing a parliamentary majority with his hard-line allies in Tuesday’s election.
The three stations all showed Gantz’s centrist party slightly ahead, although his party does not have majority control in the 120-seat parliament. He needs the support of Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the midsize Yisrael Beitenu party.
The centrist Blue and White alliance of former military chief Benny Gantz is projected to win between 32 and 34 seats, and PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party 30 to 33 seats.
Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman may end up being kingmaker.
Mr Netanyahu called the snap vote after failing to form a governing coalition in the wake of an election in April.
Negotiations on the formation of a new coalition are expected to start as soon as the preliminary results come on Wednesday morning.
Speaking to supporters early on Wednesday, Mr Netanyahu said: “We’ve all been through a difficult election campaign.
“We are still waiting for the actual results but one thing is clear. The state of Israel is at a historical point, we faced great opportunities and great challenges.”
Mr Gantz sounded more optimistic when he spoke to supporters a little earlier.
“Of course we’ll wait for the real results, but it seems we have accomplished our mission,” he said.
“The unity and reconciliation is ahead of us
The election has been a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu’s last 10 years in office.
In opposition strongholds in Tel Aviv queues of voters were waiting and hoping to end Netanyahu political career.