The polls closed for Israel’s elections Tuesday night, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming a victory after exit polls show the race too close to call. So is his opponent.
The Associated Press said Wednesday morning at 5:20 a.m. local time in Tel Aviv that Netanyahu was staking claim to an fifth election win. Official results are expected to be released on Wednesday, and Netanyahu was reportedly tied with opposition leader Benny Gantz going into the morning.
Late Tuesday and into early Wednesday in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu hd already claimed victory before his supporters.
“The right-wing bloc led by Likud won a clear victory. I thank the citizens of Israel for their trust,” Netanyahu said on DW.com. “I will begin forming a right-wing government with our natural partners tonight.”
Netanyahu vowed to create a right-wing nationalist government, according to AP.
“I was very moved that the nation of Israel once again entrusted me for the fifth time, and with even greater trust,” Netanyahu said.
According to IsraelElectionLiveResults, Netanyahu’s Likud Party narrowly edged the Blue and White by a 37-36 count. Here’s the listed tally:
3.4M votes tallied. The seats now stand at:
Blue & White 36
Yisrael Beiteinu 6
At polls’ closing, opposition leader Benny Gantz believed he, too, could have been Israel’s next leader, as he was leading in most polls leading up to the election and was neck-and-neck in the exit polls with Netanyahu, who is on the verge of being elected five times as the country’s top leader.
Gantz and his running partner, Yair Lapid, claimed victory earlier in the Israeli night.
“We won! The Israeli public has had their say! Thank you to the thousands of activists and over a million voters. These elections have a clear winner and a clear loser,” Gantz said.
The Associated Press said Wednesday morning that 90% of the votes had been tallied, and the race was still in a deadlock.
Gantz was believed to be leading the election heading into Tuesday’s polls, before U.S. President Donald Trump declared Iran’s Revulotionary Guard as a terrorist threat.