Israeli parliamentary elections on Tuesday resulted in a virtual deadlock for a fourth time in the past two years, exit polls showed, leaving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an uncertain future and the country facing the prospect of continued political gridlock.
The exit polls on Israel’s three main TV stations showed that Netanyahu along with his religious and nationalist allies, as well as a group of anti-Netanyahu parties, fell short of the parliamentary majority required to form a new government, raising the possibility of an unprecedented fifth consecutive election later this year.
The results signaled a continuing shift of the Israeli electorate toward the right wing, which supports West Bank settlements and opposes concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu had been hoping for a decisive victory that would allow him to seek immunity from corruption charges.
In an address to supporters early yesterday, Netanyahu boasted of a “great achievement,” but stopped short of declaring victory.
Instead, he appeared to reach out to his opponents and called for formation of a “stable government” that would avoid another election.
About 64 percent of the vote had been counted by early yesterday, leaving the outcome underdetermined.
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