In Israel exit polls suggest the predicted shift to the right has ended in a dead heat.
The centre-left Yasher Atid party has risen to a close second place, giving current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu alliance only a narrow win.
At the Likud party HQ celebrations went on into the night, but in Netanyahu’s victory speech he pledged to form a broad coalition in the wake of the unexpected result. His top priorities related to security and preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon.
Analysts were stunned with the rise of Yasher Atid, formed just 9 months ago under former journalist Yair Lapid, it has defied predictions of a shift to the right. This will mean political horse-trading will ensue when Netayanhu comes to form his cabinet.
Coming in third, the previously popular Labour party have vowed to counter any coalition under Netanyahu.
The biggest upset was for nationalist party Habayit Hayehudi, led by Netanyahu’s former chief-of-staff Naftali Bennett who had been hailed as the rising star of Israeli politics before Yair Lapid stole the show.