On Tuesday, Israelis headed to the polls to vote in what is expected to be the re-election of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If he is reelected it will be his third term as Prime Minister, pushing Israeli even further right, away from any peace with Palestinians and towards a possible confrontation with neighbor Iran.
However, the Likud party, which is Netanyahu’s party running alongside the YIsrael Beitenu the ultra nationalist group, looks like it will have fewer seats in this parliament than in others previous. Opinion polls have shown an increase in support for the Jewish Home party, which is far right.
Netanyahu, said political sources, concerned because of his drop in popularity might try to approach the parties that are center left following the vote in order to broaden his coalition in a way to present an even more moderate face to all important Washington and other allies.
After Netanyahu cast his ballot, he said he voted Likud-Beitenu as we want our Israel to succeed. Close to 5.6 million Israelis are eligible to vote and polling stations remain open until 10:00 pm. Wednesday morning the full results will be available, which will open the door for coalition talks that could last several weeks.
The election campaign, which was very low key, did not focus on any one issue. Netanyahu’s reelection has been predicted by every poll in the country and that has made the two main political groups seem more interested in feuding internally than with each other.
No party in Israel has ever had absolute majority, which means that even Netanyahu, who says his top priority is dealing with the nuclear program in Iran, will have to find allies to control the Knesset’s 120 seats.