Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prospects for retaining power were uncertain on Wednesday after exit polls in Israel’s fourth national election in two years projected yet another stalemate.
With final results not due until later in the week, the forecasts indicated that even Netanyahu’s stewardship of a world-beating COVID-19 vaccination rollout – a showcase of his campaign – may not have been enough to propel him to victory.
Initial projections by Israel’s three main TV channels after Tuesday’s voting gave Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, an edge, based on the potential support of an ultranationalist rival, Naftali Bennett, once his defence minister.
But amended forecasts indicated deadlock even with Bennett’s prospective backing, with a parliament divided equally between Netanyahu’s likely opponents and supporters.
Israel’s opposition made a better showing than expected, and support for Likud dipped, exit polls showed, after Netanyahu’s critics highlighted corruption charges against the country’s longest-serving leader and accused him of mishandling the pandemic.
Source: France 24