Israeli PM Netanyahu poised to win election

Exit polls and early results indicated on Wednesday the veteran right-wing leader is on course for a record fifth term

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Tuesday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears poised to win the national election, securing a record fifth term in office, media claims. Although his Likud Party and rival Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party each won 35 seats, Yet, the right-wing bloc snags a total of 65 seats - clearing Netanyahu's path to victory.

"I started holding talks with the heads of the right-wing parties, our natural partners, tonight. Almost everyone publicly declared that they would recommend me [to President Reuven Rivlin] to form the next government. I intend to finish the task quickly in order to establish a stable national government," the PM said on Tuesday night after exit polls results were announced.

He still cautioned that his next government is facing "serious challenges – in society, in the economy, [facing the world], with normalisation toward peace with the Arab world. I am certain that with joint forces we can overcome all of these challenges, and ask to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart."

So now Netanyahu is the one who will be able to form a governing coalition able to withstand a bribery indictment by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, according to the results after 98% of the votes have been counted.

The final tally is set for later in the day.

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