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Israel election exit polls point to stalemate for Netanyahu

  发表于 Mar 24, 2021 14:28:47 来自手机 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Jerusalem (CNN)Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked the voters of Israel for making his Likud the largest party after the country's fourth election in two years but exit poll projections by the three main Israeli TV networks all point increasingly towards a period of renewed political deadlock.

In a moment of ritualized drama, the TV networks published their exit poll projections within a minute of polling stations closing at 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET). All three forecast a slim majority of 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament for Netanyahu's preferred right-wing and religious bloc.

But within four hours, as results started to come in, all three channels had revised their forecasts away from the Israeli leader, with two forecasting 60 seats for Netanyahu's bloc, while a third had it on just 59.

Likud itself was forecast to win 30 seats by two of the channels, putting it twelve seats ahead of its nearest challenger, centrist Yesh Atid, led by former TV news anchor Yair Lapid.

Addressing Likud supporters in Jerusalem at 2:30 a.m. Netanyahu was defiant, saying he would do everything in his power to build a stable right-wing government and prevent the country from being dragged to fifth elections.

"I rule out nobody in the Knesset who believes in these principles," he said, making a clear appeal to Gideon Saar - who quit Likud at the end of last year to launch his own New Hope party in opposition to Netanyahu - to come back into the fold.

New Hope appears to have fared badly in Tuesday's poll, but its predicted six seats would be more than enough to secure Netanyahu a majority in parliament, alongside support from two religious parties, plus a right-wing party led by former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, and the far-right Religious Zionism party -- which includes followers of extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose own political party was banned from the Knesset in the 1980s for being racist.

Even though final result projections have been slipping away from Netanyahu, his fractured opponents appear to face an even tougher job to build a workable coalition. On paper, an alliance of seven parties spanning the spectrum from right to left including Arab parties, could find itself with more than 60 seats, but given the history of Israeli politics, where no Arab party has ever sat in government, it is hard to imagine such a coalition being easily formed.

Even so, main opposition leader Yair Lapid, thanking voters for appearing to have stopped the Religious Zionism party from becoming part of the government, vowed to work with other party leaders in the weeks ahead.

"We will wait for the final results but as it stands there won't be a government based on the votes of the racists and homophobes. I've started speaking to party leaders ... but we'll do everything to create a sane government in Israel," he said.

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