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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared himself victorious in the 2019 general election Tuesday night, as updated exit polls and early results showed him with a clear path to forming a new government.
“I am very moved on this night,” he told exuberant supporters. “This is a night of an incredible, incredible victory.”
Though initial exit polls at 10 p.m. had shown Likud and Blue and White either even at 36 seats (Channel 13 and Kan) or with an advantage for Blue and White (37 to 33 on Channel 12), updated results accounting for the final hours of voting on both Channel 12 and 13 showed Likud leading 35 to 34.
And regardless of the horse race between the two major parties, the right-wing bloc was projected to win a majority in the 120-seat Knesset. The results mean Netanyahu will likely sweep back into power for an unprecedented fifth term, despite pending bribery and fraud indictments hanging over him.
As of 3:12 a.m. Wednesday, with over 2.7 million votes counted, Likud was leading Blue and White 27.5 percent (roughly 33 seats) to 26% (31 seats). Shas was running a distant third with 6% (7 seats), followed by UTJ with 5.2% (6 seats) and Yisrael Beytenu with 4.6% (6 seats). The actual number of seats will likely go up once all votes are tallied and votes of parties that did not cross the threshold are redistributed.
Final turnout in the vote was 67.9%, down from 2015’s final turnout of 71.8%.
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SOURCE: The Times of Israel