Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party declared victory in the election for the 20th Knesset following exit polls released Tuesday night, but the Zionist Union said the prime minister’s celebrations were premature.
The turnout was 71.8 percent, the highest since 1999 and 4.1% higher than the 67.8% of the last Knesset race in 2013.
“Against all odds, a great victory for the Likud,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. “A major victory for the people of Israel!”
The Likud won 28 seats according to an exit poll on Channel 2 and 27 according to exit polls on Channels 1 and 10. The Zionist Union won 27 seats in all three exit polls.
Netanyahu immediately called the leaders of right-wing and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties in an effort to begin the process of forming a government.