Israeli exit polls suggest Netanyahu is within reach of majority

Tim O'Donnell

The endless Israeli election cycle may have finally reached its terminus, though there's still a chance for round four.

Exit polls Monday are suggesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party was victorious over his center-right rival Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party in the country's third parliamentary elections within the last year. Netanyahu is also expected to add extra spots in a coalition with his religious and nationalist allies to bring the total up to 60. If the results — which are often imprecise at this stage, per Al Jazeera — hold when voting is finalized Tuesday, that would still fall one shy of a majority in the 120-seat parliament, however.

It's not clear if Likud can make up even that limited ground, but the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party leader, Avigdor Lieberman, has promised there will not be a fourth election. Lieberman is often considered a possible kingmaker who can end the country's gridlock, but he has previously refused to elevate either Netanyahu or Gantz in the previous two elections.

Gantz maintains he's willing to forge a coalition with Likud, but he won't accept Netanyahu — who is under investigation for corruption — as its leader. Read more at Al Jazeera and Reuters.

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