Israel's Likud Party, Blue and White bloc neck and neck in first exit polls
Early exit polls are placing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party and former Israeli general Benny Gantz's Blue and White Alliance at a tie as numbers trickle in, yerveinsan.az reports citing Sputnik.
With both parties neck and neck, some polls suggest that the Likud Party will win 36 seats versus to Blue and White's 37, others that Gantz's party may have four seats on Likud.
Noting differing projections, Reuters has reported that Netanyahu may be on pace to securing his fifth term as the nation's prime minister, allowing him to become the longest-serving individual in that position.
Gantz was the first to claim an election victory.
But Gantz wasn't the only politician calling a victory early on. Netanyahu, too, is claiming a "clear" election victory for the Likud Party.
"I thank the citizens of Israel for the trust," he said in a tweet. "I will start by assembling a right government with our natural partners tonight."
Gantz and journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid joined forces in late February, creating the Blue and White Alliance in a bid to challenge the Likud Party. Both politicians have stated that they would rotate as prime ministers, with Gantz taking the first two and a half years if they were to win, Sputnik previously reported.
Gideon Rahat, a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, previously told Sputnik that while alliances rarely succeed, the Blue and White bloc could have a shot at winning if it were to win votes from the moderate right.
"I think that basically, alliances in Israeli politics are not successful, because it is easier to get more seats by yourself and when you give voters more things to choose from… [But] if they would be able to get votes from soft-right, from moderate right, they can do it [win in the elections]," Rahat said.
Netanyahu teamed up in late February with the far-right Habayit Hayehudi aka the "Jewish Home Party," which has been described as Israel's version of the KKK.
Official election results are still being reported.