Israelis have been voting in a general election that looks set to take the country further to the right.
The outcome is widely expected to bring the incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a third term in office, but with a reduced majority.
Opinion polls suggest his Likud party’s conservative alliance has lost ground to the Jewish Home Party led by Naftali Bennett. His ultra-nationalist group has struck a chord among voters and has eroded support for Netanyahu.
Likud is in a right-wing alliance but may need others’ support. Tzipi Lizni, a centrist former foreign minister, has said she would consider joining a government under Netanyahu.
Unlike previous elections and with little prospect of a return to peace talks, the campaign has not been dominated by the Palestinian issue.
Netanyahu has argued for stronger national security. Some voters believe there are other priorities.
“Security of course is the big issue, but day-to-day life is all about how can you afford to live in a place you want to live in and it’s not happening here,” said one man.
“I have no expectations because the situation in Israel is quite bad and there is no leadership,” said another.
“We need a Jewish-Arab option, we need peace, we need to look after the economy in a way that is much more compassionate,” a woman added.
Netanyahu’s last term has been marked by large protests over the high cost of living. But many believe the outcome is predictable and foresee little change.
Euronews correspondent in Israel Bora Bayraktar says:
“Compared to previous elections there’s not been much excitement, and people’s expectations are low. But despite this, people did turn out to vote early.”
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