Netanyahu Declares Victory, but Race Is Neck and Neck
Exit polls show his party and Isaac Herzog's deadlocked
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2015 4:45 PM CDT
Israel's Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog makes a point during a press conference in Jerusalem Feb. 24.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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(Newser) – Voting is over in Israel, and exit polls show that the parties of Benjamin Netanyahu and the man who hopes to oust him as prime minister, Isaac Herzog, are deadlocked. But that didn't stop Netanyahu from posting this celebratory message on Facebook, reports the Jerusalem Post: "Against all odds, a great victory for the Likud, for the nationalist camp led by the Likud, and for the people of Israel." Reuters cites polls showing that Likud and Herzog's Zionist Union party will each win 27 seats in the Knesset, but the news service thinks Netanyahu has the "clearer path to forming a coalition" and thus remaining prime minister. The AP agrees.

Still, it will take a while for things to clarify, and the New York Times predicts "a protracted and messy process of forming the next governing coalition." One possibility that appears to be gaining steam is a national unity government that includes both major parties. Netanyahu had previously rejected the idea, but Haaretz quotes a party official as saying, "Netanyahu doesn't want a unity government, but sometimes you find yourself with no choice."
 

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