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Israel elections: Benjamin Netanyahu falls short of majority in exit polls | World News

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Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to secure a majority in Israel’s elections, leaving his future as prime minister uncertain.

Mr Netanyahu fell short of the 61 seats needed to maintain control of the country’s 120-seat parliament, exit polls suggest.

Opposition parties managed to secure 60, but small right-wing party Yamina is forecast to win seven and has not yet declared whether it would form a coalition or not.

It is the fourth time in two years that a political vote in Israel has ended in deadlock.

If Mr Netanyahu is unable to form a government, the country faces an unprecedented fifth consecutive election later this year.

In an address to supporters at his Likud party’s headquarters in Jerusalem early Wednesday, the leader boasted of a “great achievement” but stopped short of declaring victory.

“We must not under any circumstances drag the state of Israel to new elections, to a fifth election. We must form a stable government now, he said.

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Yamina’s leader Naftali Bennett is a former Netanyahu loyalist, but in recent years has turned against him.

He shares the incumbent’s nationalist ideology and is the most likely candidate to offer to join him in forming a government. But in a speech to his supporters on Wednesday, he refused to reveal which side he would take.

“Now is the time for healing. The norms of the past will no longer be acceptable,” he said.

He promised supporters he would move the country “from leadership that is interested in itself to a professional leadership that cares.”

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