Polls open in Israel as contenders seek to topple PM Netanyahu

WION Web Team
Israel Published: Mar 23, 2021, 11:01 AM(IST)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu & opposition party leader Yair Lapid from Yesh Atid party Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Likud party needs a 61-seat parliamentary majority in the 120-member Knesset with 6.5 million registered voters set to deliver a result. 

Polls opened in Israel including in the occupied West Bank for the fourth time in two years as Prime Minister Benjamin  Netanyahu's Likud party clashes against a new challenger Yair Lapid-led centre-left party Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party.

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Netanyahu, 71, who battled corruption allegations, has ruled over Israel as prime minister for an unprecedented 12 consecutive years. However, he was unable to unite a stable coalition.

The Israeli prime minister has been fighting the new election under the "Vaccination Nation" slogan as the country has moved at breakneck speed to ensure COVID-19 vaccination for all its citizen. 

The Likud party needs a 61-seat parliamentary majority in the 120-member Knesset with 6.5 million registered voters set to deliver a result. 

Yair Lapid, 57, an ex-finance minister and TV host who leads the Yesh Atid party, is widely expected to do well against Gantz as the strongest force in the anti-Netanyahu camp. Also in the race are Naftali Bennett, 48, belonging to the Yamina party and Gideon Saar, 54, who heads the New Hope party.

Gantz's Blue and White party, which had failed to hold its coalition partnership with Netanyahu, has seen his popularity plunge as he failed to hold the government together.

The results of the crucial polls are set to trickle in overnight from Tuesday, with final results expected around Friday. 

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