05:37 GMT +322 March 2019
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement in Ramat Gan, Israel, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.

    Netanyahu's Party Loses Lead in Election Campaign for 1st Time - Polls

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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party now lags behind its main competitors, who have united in the hope of putting an end to the ten-year rule of the right-wing party, for the first time since the election campaign started, according to polls done by the Channel 13 and the Channel 12 broadcasters.

    The Blue and White bloc, which was formed on Thursday by the centrist Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience parties, is expected to get 36 seats in the 120-strong Knesset, according to both polls.

    The ruling Likud party, which had led in previous polls, is forecast to get between 26 and 30 total seats, according to estimates from both polls.

    READ MORE: 2019 Elections in Israel and Virginia Have More in Common Than You Think

    Despite the slump in his party's ratings, Netanyahu retains good chances of securing the support of the majority of parliamentarians, which is necessary to get the right to form a government. Both surveys indicated that the coalition backing Netanyahu, which consists of right-wing and religious parties, would get around 60 seats in total.

    Channel 13's poll was conducted among 752 respondents, while the one by Channel 12 surveyed 603 people. The margin of error is 3.7 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

    In December, Netanyahu called snap elections for April 9 amid corruption allegations against him. Initially, the parliamentary elections were slated for November 2019. The Central Elections Committee stopped receiving lists of candidates on Thursday. According to local media, the committee received a record 47 lists.

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    election, polls, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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