The exit polls are in for the Israeli elections, and the winner is…well, it depends on who you ask. Tzipi Livni’s Kadima, according to polls, has a 2 seat lead over Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud, but when you add the smaller parties into the mix, the right wing bloc performed better overall, dealing a blow to the left.
Both Kadima and Likud are claiming victory. “Israel has chosen Kadima and we will form the next government,” Livni said, while Netanyahu chimed in, “I will be the next prime minister of Israel.”
To form a government, a party must reach 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. The exit polls show Kadima with 29 or 30 and Likud at 27 or 28. But the right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu, conrtolled by Avigdor Lieberman, jumped to 15 seats, while the liberal Labor fell to 13. Overall, the breakdown has been projected at 64 seats for the right-wing parties and 56 seats for the left-wing.
Haaretz cautioned that, “some analysts noted that soldiers, whose votes could account for a couple of seats, had not been counted in exit polls and that could favor Netanyahu as tallying continues through into Wednesday.”
Either way, it was a huge comeback for Likud (which was at 12 seats in the current government elected in 2006) and a massive defeat for Ehud Barak’s Labor (which had won 19 seats in 2006).
The inconclusive results could be the worst possible outcome for Israel, as the lack of mandate by any party could mean in a muddled policy.
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