Netanyahu Seeks Re-election as Israel Votes for Third Time in a Year

Israeli Prime Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu seeking to end the country's political crisis and save his career. (Photo: File)

Israelis are voting for a third time in less than a year on Monday, with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeking re-election in view of an imminent corruption trial.

Final opinion polls indicated that neither Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud nor the centrist Blue and White party of his main challenger Benny Gantz will win enough votes on their own.

Both will almost certainly fall well short of a majority in Israel’s proportional system and the winner will seek to form a coalition with multiple smaller parties.

After elections in both April and September, last year neither were able to do so, and a similar deadlock remains possible.

With few undecided in a divided country of 6.4 million eligible voters, turnout will be key and all parties were campaigning to get their supporters to the polls.

Netanyahu, in power since 2009, said Sunday internal polls suggested they were close to winning and finally breaking the political deadlock.

“We are very close to victory,” Israel’s longest-serving premier told a press conference. “Leave your homes and vote Likud.”

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, a former military general, urged supporters to vote and end Netanyahu’s divisive rule.

“You can’t just sit at home clicking your tongue, saying ‘what’s happening here,'” Gantz told public radio Sunday. “Get out and vote.”

“This is uncharted territory for Israel. Never before in Israel’s history has the ruling elite been faced with such legal and political dilemmas,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.

“Israelis now find themselves at the cusp of a new era, one that is defined by the breakdown of the country’s legal system, prolonged political crisis and never-ending social instability,” Baroud added.

(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)

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