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Israelis vote in national elections today

The people of Israel have begun voting in their country’s second general election in five months.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority, following April’s vote.

The final opinion polls put his right-wing Likud party neck and neck with its main challenger, the centrist Blue and White party led by former military chief Benny Gantz.

Smaller parties are expected to have a big say in the final outcome.

Negotiations on the formation of a new coalition will commence as soon as voting ends at 19:00 GMT and exit polls are published.

In April’s elections, the centre-right Likud party and Blue and White garnered thirty-five seats each in the 120-member Knesset.

Mr. Netanyahu, who has been in power for most of the last ten years, declared victory, and was on the verge of securing a majority with the backing of smaller right-wing and religious parties, when the exercise collapsed into recriminations.

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