The first two elections last September and April ended in deadlock with neither of the two front-runners, incumbent PM Binyamin Netanyahu, head of Likud, or Benny Gantz and his Kahol Lavan, able to command enough Knesset seats to form a government. Voting for the 23rd Knesset takes place on Monday with 6,453,255 Israelis eligible to vote and haul the country out of its year-long political crisis by producing a clear winner. With his corruption court case two weeks away, Netanyahu’s opponents called on him to step aside. He is not obliged to do so by law before the appeals process is exhausted – even if convicted. The prime minister has insisted that Gantz, an ex-general, is not qualified to lead the country. Exit polls are to be released by the TV stations as soon as voting ends at 10 p.m.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip are in lockdown for Israel’s election day.