Published: Thu, September 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

How 2nd election could reshape Israel's political landscape

How 2nd election could reshape Israel's political landscape

If that fails, Rivlin could give another candidate for prime minister 28 days to form a coalition.

Although the country is not fighting any full-scale wars at the moment, there is the ever-present danger that fresh conflict will erupt with its regional foes.

Gantz, a former military chief of staff, has ruled out sitting with a Netanyahu-led Likud at a time when he is expected to be indicted on corruption charges in the coming weeks.

The fate of the Palestinians depends on who is in power in Israel, since Israel occupies land which they seek for a state of their own. After casting his ballot, the leader of the main Arab faction in parliament, Ayman Odeh, said Netanyahu was "obsessive" in his incitement toward Arabs.

Netanyahu has announced a plan to annex more than 30 percent of the occupied West Bank despite worldwide criticism, apparently to appease his supporters.

Israel's Arab parties, which represent the country's 20% minority, ran separately in April, a decision that contributed to low turnout.

Media captionIs Palestinian-Israel peace plan out of reach?

"I wanted Gantz, but I am very pessimistic", Yehudai says.

If polls are accurate, it could be hard for Netanyahu or Gantz to secure a parliamentary majority without Lieberman's support. "Many Israelis are fed up with the politicians, or expect more of the same", said Amotz Asa-El, research fellow at Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman Institute.

Voting started at 7am local time (0400 GMT) Tuesday at 10,788 polling stations across the country and is due to end at 10pm (1900 GMT).

Whether former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's strongly conservative party Yisrael Beiteinu joins a coalition government headed by former friend Netanyahu.

U.S. sues Edward Snowden for profits from his new book
However, the 36-year-old said on Monday that he wanted to return home to the U.S. , calling it his "ultimate goal". In anticipation of the book's release, Snowden urged President Emmanuel Macron to grant him asylum in France.

Latest polls published by Israeli media suggest Likud will win 32 seats and the Blue and White 31.

"I voted Likud because I want a right-wing government and a strong Israel and I want Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) to be the prime minister", said Chaya Dvora Sharon, a voter.

Facing the prospect of criminal corruption indictments and hoping to extend his unmatched stint in the prime minister's office, Netanyahu has promised to declare up to a third of the occupied Palestinian territories as part of Israel if he is re-elected.

Lieberman, whose party is secular, refused to enter into a coalition with Netanyahu unless the prime minister agreed to have ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminarians serve in the Israeli military.

Israelis have begun voting in the country's second election this year, following a campaign dominated by Benjamin Netanyahu and his vows to implement a far-right, ultranationalist agenda in exchange for a record fifth term as leader.

There have also been multiple reports of polling irregularities.

The ruling Likud Party had then disavowed the content as a mistake by a campaign worker, and said that "it had not been approved by the Prime Minister". If his party performs as well as polls predict, Mr Lieberman could hold the balance of power.

Blue and White party, led by Benny Gantz, has said they have no objection to forming a unity government with the Likud but without Netanyahu as it's leader.

"Starting tonight we will work to form a broad unity government that will express the will of the people", he said. The grouping's performance will be crucial to Mr Netanyahu's ability to put together a governing coalition. Netanyahu had hopes the smaller conservative parties could have broken the threshold and given him a few extra votes for a conservative government.

But Israeli Arab leaders have now formed a united Arab front with leader Ayman Odeh making the unprecedented declaration that he would consider joining if Gantz, 60, forms a centre-left coalition The Arab leadership claims they could win up to 28 seats, but would need 65% of Arab citizens to vote.

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