Netanyahu setback as Lapid surges
Exit polls from Israel’s election suggest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing alliance has lost ground to centre-left parties.
They predicted a narrow majority for Mr Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu and nationalist allies. The prime minister pledged to form a broad coalition.
The high turnout is thought to have benefited Labour and centrists,
Yesh Atid (There is a Future), a centrist party, is believed to have come second, followed by Labour.
Mr Netanyahu is expected to seek an alliance with a new nationalist party, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home).
After the vote, the prime minister promised to reach out to other parties to form a wide coalition. “Tomorrow we start anew,” he told cheering supporters.
And he said preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons remained the government’s first challenge.
Thirty-two parties were competing under a system of proportional representation for the 120-member Knesset. Parties must win at least 2% of the total vote to secure seats.
In the outgoing parliament, Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party, together with the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu, have 42 seats.
According to the exit polls, the Likud-Beitenu alliance would now get 31, and Habayit Hayehudi 12.
Yesh Atid, led by journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid, is credited with 18 or 19 seats. Analysts say this is a stunning result for a newcomer.
Mr Lapid has said he will not join Mr Netanyahu’s team unless the prime minister promises to push for peace with Palestinians.
“We have red lines. We won’t cross those red lines, even if it will force us to sit in the opposition,” Yaakov Peri, one of Yesh Atid’s leaders, told Israeli TV.
Exit polls suggest Labour will get 17 seats – up from just seven in the outgoing parliament. Labour leader Shelly Yachimovich said: “There is a high chance of a shake-up and an end to the Netanyahu government.”
key here is to watch this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yair_Lapid
netanyahu wins but keep your eye on the “celebrity”..