Jerusalem: People across Israel voted on Tuesday in the country’s second parliamentary elections in five months after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a government after the first polls in April.
Some 6,395,396 Israelis were eligible to vote at over 11,000 polling booths that opened at 7 a.m. till 10 p.m. when counting of the ballots will begin, Efe news reported.
According to The Jerusalem Post, unofficial results will be available by Wednesday and the official winner will be declared on September 25.
Experts have predicted a lower voter turnout compared to the 67.9 per cent in the April 9 elections, which could affect the results.
Netanyahu is running for re-election and a fifth term after becoming the country’s longest serving leader in July. He was first elected Prime Minister in 2009.
There are 31 parties in the race, out of which nine or 10 are expected to share the 120 seats that makeup Israel’s parliament.
The top two most voted parties are expected to obtain around 30 seats which are likely to lead to formations with several parties.
Meanwhile, the latest opinion polls on Monday night showed that Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party was neck and neck with its main challenger, the centrist Blue, and White party led by former military chief Benny Gantz, the BBC reported.
Likud and Blue and White have 35 seats each in the 120-seat Knesset or Parliament. The other main parties in the fray are the Joint List, made up of four parties that represent Arab citizens in the country; Israel Our Home, a far-right and secular party led by former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman; and New Right, a coalition of far-right parties led by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Around 20,000 uniformed and plainclothes police officials have been deployed at the polling stations around the country and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (IANS)