As it happened: Israeli PM Netanyahu in tight race with Benny Gantz for unprecedented repeat vote
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Israel votes in an unprecedented repeat of April elections pitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against retired military chief Benny Gantz in a race that exit polls show is too close to call. Follow our live blog and special TV edition.
• Netanyahu, the longest-serving leader in Israeli history, is aiming for a fourth consecutive term in office. It would be his fifth overall.
• In April, retired military chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance (Kahol Lavan) and Netanyahu’s right-wing alliance led by the Likud party both won 35 seats. Despite being better placed to form a coalition, Netanyahu failed to do so and was obliged to call for snap elections.
• Kahol Lavan has been polling even with Likud. But regardless of who wins, either party may struggle to form a majority coalition with smaller allies, forcing them into a potential unity government.
• If Netanyahu's Likud and his hard-line religious and nationalist allies manage to secure a 61-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset, they are expected to approve legislation that would grant him immunity from prosecution. The prime minister is facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust; his wife was convicted in June for misuse of public funds.
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