Israel elections: Why it's do or die this time for Benjamin Netanyahu

Dog days of campaign as Israelis return to polls

Dog days of campaign as Israelis return to polls

"I am now asking for your confidence so as to complete this historic task and to fortify the State of Israel's borders and security forever".

Despite the preliminary results showing he'll be unable to form a majority coalition, Netanyahu promised Wednesday morning from the Tel Aviv Expo Center that he would "go on serving the state of Israel and the people of Israel". But Netanyahu, who had the first shot at forming the government, failed to close coalition talks, leading to fresh polls.

At the time, Netanyahu appeared to have won another term, with his traditional allies of nationalist and ultra-religious Jewish parties controlling a parliamentary majority.

The prime minister later lashed out at the social network, claiming it had shut down a way for the Likud party to "communicate" with its supporters.

Trump and Netanyahu spoke by phone last weekend and also discussed the possibility of a mutual defense treaty.

Netanyahu has repeatedly accused his opponents of conspiring with Arab parties to "steal" the election and voiced unfounded allegations of widespread fraud in Arab districts.

But turnout in the minority Arab sector was just below 50%.

The prime minster, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term, warned his right-wing supporters that they would face an Arab-controlled government if they did not vote, the Independent reported. This, despite the fact that four Arab parties joined together in one party called the Joint List.

That has led to a degree of voter fatigue, which could depress turnout. It marked more than a 2% increase over the figure at the same time in April.

Election day is a national holiday, a measure aimed at encouraging participation.

This story was amended to correct the turnout in April's election. Likud's poll posters featured Modi and Trump and New Delhi's de-hyphenated Israel and Arab policies have ensured that Israel is no longer a closet friend of India.

Israel heads to the polls on Tuesday for the second time this year.

Gantz while casting his vote called on the country to reject corruption and "extremism".

Netanyahu has tried to portray himself as a seasoned statesman who is uniquely qualified to lead the country through challenging times.

"We are voting today for change", Gantz said after voting with his wife Revital.

The turnout thus far Tuesday is close to the level reached by noon in the 2015 election (26.9%), and slightly above the level reached in 2013 (26.7%).

Three polling stations in Yarka closed after reports of voters attempting to cast more than one ballot, and some trying to vote under another name. "It's going to be a close election", US President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday in the Oval Office.

Netanyahu sells himself as the only one who can protect Israel from the rising tide of Iranian aggression and accelerate Israel's global acceptance, nursing diplomatic relations with former adversaries across the Arab world.

The potential kingmaker of the Israeli election says he will insist upon a unity government between the two largest factions. Earlier this year India cast an "unprecedented" vote in favour of a decision introduced by Israel at a United Nations body that objected to granting consultative status to a Palestinian group.

Israel's politics nowadays seem nearly as insane as Britain's, but unlike the mother of all parliaments, which can't sort out London's relation with Brussels, the Knesset's biggest issue was merely to decide whether to keep or oust Benjamin Netanyahu - the leader who this summer became the country's longest-serving prime minister.

In April's vote, the justice and education ministers at the time, Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, broke away from their Jewish Home party to run independently. Opinion polls had Likud and the Blue and White neck and neck last week.

According to Israeli law, a sitting prime minister is not obligated to resign if indicted and can stay in power until a final supreme court ruling is handed down.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday with exit polls expected at the end of the voting day at 10 p.m. Official results are projected to come in overnight.

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