Tamil Diplomat

Israel election: Netanyahu’s Likud ‘set for win’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has claimed a surprise victory in Israel’s election, Israeli media report. Earlier exit polls had suggested a dead heat with centre-left Zionist Union. With most votes counted, Likud is said to be on course to take 29 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, with the Zionist Union on 24 seats.

If confirmed, this would indicate another governing right-wing coalition led by Mr Netanyahu.Speaking after the polls closed, Mr Netanyahu said he had already spoken to the leaders of other right-of-centre parties about forming a new government. In a speech to his jubilant supporters in Tel Aviv, Mr Netanyahu described Tuesday’s vote as a “great victory” for Likud, which had trailed the Zionist Union in opinion polls in the run-up to the election.