11:56 GMT23 October 2020
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    Israeli exit polls showed earlier that Netanyahu's national-liberal Likud Party was leading in Monday's vote, followed by the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz.

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared victory in the general election held on Monday.

    "We won by believing in our own way and by the people of Israel", Netanyahu tweeted and attached a picture of a man "three weeks in intensive care" who voted for Likud.

    Meanwhile, the exit poll of Channel 13 showed the potential coalition led by Netanyahu's Likud gaining 59 seats in the Knesset, two seats short of a majority.

    According to the preliminary data by the Central Elections Committee, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party gained 31.49 percent of the vote, followed by the opposition Blue and White party of Benny Gantz with 23.90 percent. The Joint List, an alliance of four main Arab political parties in Israel, took its usual third place with 11.60 percent, and the religious Shas is in fourth place with 8.24 percent.

    Commenting on his victory, Netanyahu made clear what he wanted to achieve in the coming years as the Israeli prime minister. This included applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Jordan Valley, a "historic alliance" with the United States, and establishing peace with leading Arab states, as quoted by Kann News.

    He also said that it was high time to stop the election rounds and form a government in Israel, though he did not elaborate on the details of a future government coalition.

    "It's time for reconciliation", the Israeli premier said.

    Recent polls projected Netanyahu was most likely to build a coalition with Benny Gantz. Speaking to voters, Gantz did not state clearly if he would agree to a coalition with Likud.

    While the structure of the coalition is in question, Head of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party Avigdor Lieberman tweeted he would not join "any government led by Netanyahu and Shas and United Torah Judaism".

    Earlier, Netanyahu thanked his party's supporters via Twitter as early exit polls said Likud was set to gain a majority of seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Defence Minister Naftali Bennet also tweeted he would advise the president to mandate Netanyahu to form the government.

    The 2 March snap parliamentary vote was an unprecedented case in the history of Israel, as it was the third election held in a row within less than a year. In April and September respectively, Likud failed to either secure a majority in the Knesset or negotiate a broader coalition with the opposition.

    Tags:
    Benny Gantz, Naftali Bennett, opposition, parliament, Knesset, Benjamin Netanyahu, win, vote, Israel
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