Forty party lists face the voter in Israel’s general election on Tuesday, April 9 – compared with 25 in the 2015 ballot – although no more than 13 can expect to survive the 3.25pc threshold to take their seats in the 21st Knesset. Around half a million new eligible voters have boosted the electorate to 6,333,270, many of them casting ballots for the first time after coming of age at 18. Voting takes place from 7 am to 10pm at local stations, including hospitals, with special arrangements for the handicapped and blind. Saturday night, balloting booths opened at military facilities for uniformed personnel. Monday night, party leaders were still exhorting voters to rally. Binyamin Netanyahu is fighting for a record-breaking fifth term. He is challenged fiercely by political tyro Benny Gantz who offers change.
The TV stations will publish first exit polls as soon as voting ends at 10 pm. Real results are not expected before Thursday, although bargaining on the makeup of the next government coalition will not wait that long. By law, the president names as prime minister-designate the party leader with the best prospects of forming a government.