Netanyahu Holds Position, Seeks To Engage Both Sides

Netanyahu Holds Position, Seeks To Engage Both Sides

B. Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party emerged as the largest faction in a close parliamentary election Tuesday, but a lackluster performance by his party along with surprising gains by a centrist newcomer raised the possibility that he will be forced to form a broad coalition.

The exit polls, by Israel’s two leading news channels, have historically proved accurate within a few percentage points. They showed Mr. Netanyahu’s joint slate with Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, won 31 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, a drop from 42 the two parties had in the outgoing Knesset. The Labor Party placed third with 17 mandates, according to the polls.

In a statement posted on his Facebook FB +3.60% page, Mr. Netanyahu said he would reach across the aisle and try to form a broad-based coalition.

“According to the exit polls, it is clear that Israel citizens decided that they want me to continue to serve as prime minister of Israel, and that I form the widest possible majority (coalition),” he said. “Already this evening I will begin working toward the widest possible government.”

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