[ After the ] Israeli elections
Exit polls see Netanyahu re-elected as PM; Lapid huge surprise with 19 mandates
Polls marking conclusion of 2013 elections are predicting Likud-Beiteinu win with 30 mandates; Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party comes in second with 19 Knesset seats; record number of voters surged to polling stations to make mark on 19th Knesset
Exit polls marking the conclusion of the 2013 Benjamin Netanyahu, but the big surprise was Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, which, according to the polls, won 19 mandates.
According to exit polls released by Israel's main television networks, the joint Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu ticket won 30 or less Knesset seats in Tuesday's vote, while Shelly Yachimovich's Labor Party gained 16 to 18 mandates. The rightist Habayit Hayehudi party, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in third and will have 13 or 14 representatives in the 19th Knesset, the exit polls predicted.
The polls showed the the rightist bloc won a combined 61 Knesset seats, while the leftist bloc won 59 mandates.
Final results were not expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday. Polling stations closed at 10 pm.
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PM after voting in Jerusalem (Photo: Reuters)
The Central Elections Committee, which ran a campaign to encourage Israelis to go out and vote, was pleased with the data.
Polling stations across Israel opened at 7 am on Tuesday, beckoning a total of 5,656,705 eligible voters to cast ballots in 10,132 ballot boxes across the country.
While the winner appeared to be pretty much decided, international media outlets on Tuesday pondered the implications of another Netanyahu administration for the diplomatic process.
A Washington Post editorial claimed Netanyahu is one of only two Likud members who support the establishment of a Palestinian state, out of the top 30 candidates on the Likud list.
The question, it said, was whether Netanyahu would include Center-Left parties in the coalition, or risk isolation both within his party and internationally.