Corruption accused far-right Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu faces prospect of defeat in general elections

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Exit polls in the Israeli general elections, held on Tuesday, have indicated a defeat for the corruption accused far-right leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the exit polls conducted by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan, the centrist Blue and White alliance of former military chief Benny Gantz is projected to win between 32 and 34 seats, while Netanyahu-led right-wing Likud party is expected to win between 30 and 33 seats in the 120-seat Israeli parliament Knesset.

Photo: @netanyahu

Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman, who’s believed to a liberal, is likely to play a key role in forming the government since his party is projected to win at least 10 seats. The Israeli Arab Joint List has been given 12 seats, the right-wing Yamina party with seven; the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties with nine and eight respectively; and the left-wing Democratic Union and Labour-Gesher alliances with five each.

Netanyahu was forced to hold snap polls after he failed to form a unity government in the general elections, held five months ago.

The final tally of seats will be out only after two days but the parties have begun making attempts to garner the required seats to form a majority in the parliament. Speaking in Jerusalem, according to CNN, Liberman said that the results projected by the Israeli exit polls have confirmed his campaign message that what the country needed was a ‘large liberal government’ made up of Likud, Blue and White and his own party. He says no other type of coalition would succeed in tempting him, regardless of what ministerial posts it might offer him.

The defeat for Netanyahu assumes significance since it means that the Israeli voters have rejected his far-right policy. Days before the elections, he had sensationally vowed to annexe the Jordan Valley if voted to power. Jordan Valley is a part of the occupied West Bank. There were also reports that Netanyahu would change laws to give himself immunity from facing trial on corruption charges.

Both Netanyahu and his wife are facing serious corruption charges. His wife Sarah Netanyahu had recently agreed a plea bargain with prosecutors over allegations of misusing state funds. She was charged with fraud and breach of trust in June last year. She was accused of spending $99,300 (£78,600) on the outside catering while falsely declaring there were no cooks available at the PM’s residence.

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