Despite trailing in the polls ahead of the 2015 Israel election, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was able to revive his position and recover from the initial loss.
The exit polls revealed Mr. Netanyahu is tied with Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union.
Two of the three exit polls saw Likud and Zionist Union at 27 seats each, whereas the third gave Likud an edge of one seat. The Joint Arab List, an alliance of Arab-dominated parties, secured 13 seats.
Netanyahu has reached out to other right-wing leaders, welcoming them to form a coalition government. According to BBC, it was a “great victory” for the Likud party, and that it was achieved “against all odds.”
Mr. Netanyahu, who could become Israel’s longest-serving leader if he emerges victorious, asserts to build in east Jerusalem and dismiss the formation of a Palestinian state. Making such statements could separate Israel on the international front and create differences with the U.S. and European Union.
Herzog has expressed desire for a possible coalition and spoken to allies regarding the same.
Addressing his supporters, Mr. Herzog emphasized on improving relations with the U.S. and making peace efforts with the Palestinians. Also in the agenda was bridging the difference between the rich and the poor. After casting his vote, he was quoted in The Guardian, saying, “Whoever wants to follow [Netanyahu’s] path of despair and disappointment will vote for him.”
“But whoever wants change, hope, and really a better future for Israel, will vote the Zionist Union led by me,” he said.
Although claims to make improvements on several grounds are being made by both parties, a tie in the exit polls emphasizes the division within the Israeli public’s take on matters of socioeconomic concerns.
Delegating the responsibility of forming a government, nevertheless, rests with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin. After election results are revealed, he will present the opportunity to the leader more probable of forming a coalition.
Among eligible voters, the Israel elections saw a 72% appearance.