JERUSALEM – The Prime Minister of Benjamin Netanyahu has taken the lead in the fourth Israeli election in two years. Exit polls were projected on Wednesday morning, but neither his right-wing alliance nor a diverse group of opposition parties had a clear path to a majority coalition, which created a stalemate.
Three retirees’ exit polls on Tuesday predicted that Netanyahu’s coalition could win a majority with the help of an independent, Naftali Bennett.
But early Wednesday, when the polls were adjusted to reflect early results, the outlook changed.
Two of the three television polls showed Mr. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party and its broader right-wing and religious bloc gave 53 seats, and only 60 if he added Bennett’s projected seven seats, just less than the 61 needed for a 120-seat majority in Parliament.
The third poll gave the anti-Netanyahu party a 61-seat lead, possibly paving the way for Mr. Netanyahu blocked after the victory and made the election too close to the call.
The uncertainty is likely to lead to weeks, if not months of negotiations, and possibly another election.