Netanyahu claims right-wing bloc won Israeli election
Outcome uncertain as both Likud-led bloc and Blue and White alliance claim victory
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Tuesday that the right-wing bloc led by his Likud party has won a clear victory in Israel’s general election.
“I want to thank the citizens of Israel for your trust," Netanyahu said in a statement.
“I will begin forming a right-wing government with our natural allies this very night.”
However, one of the leaders of the Blue and White political alliance, former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz, also claimed victory.
“The Israeli public had their say! Thank you to the thousands of activists and over a million voters,” Gantz said.
With the polls closed, the Likud-led bloc lost against the Blue and White alliance led by Gantz and centrist politician Yair Lapid 37-33, according to Israel’s Channel 12.
Meanwhile, Channel 11 said the alliance acquired 37 seats while the Likud bloc holds 36.
However, Channel 13 reported that each side gained 36 seats in parliament.
Voting took place at 10,720 polling stations across the country, while 96 stations at Israeli embassies and consulates abroad are open for voting, according to the country's electoral commission.
More than 40 political parties are vying to win seats in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, although only 12 parties are expected to pass the electoral threshold.
Israeli voters began to cast ballots Tuesday to elect members of the Knesset.
There are 6.3 million eligible voters in Israel, according to the country's electoral commission.