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Third time is a charm? Israelis visit the polls again

Israelis voted Monday at the nation’s unprecedented third election less than a year to choose whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains in power regardless of his forthcoming criminal trial on corruption charges.

Netanyahu, the longest-serving pioneer in history, has become the caretaker prime minister for at least a year since a split Israel has spanned two inconclusive elections along with a protracted political paralysis. With opinion polls calling another deadlock,” Netanyahu is looking for a late surge in support to score a parliamentary majority alongside other civic parties which will give him a fourth successive term in office, and fifth overall.

Both parties seem not able to create a coalition with their traditional allies. With the possibility of a unity government involving them apparently off the table following a particularly nasty effort, Monday’s vote might well become only a preamble to a different election.

“I expect that now marks the beginning of a recovery process, where people could start living together,” Gantz said upon unemployment in his hometown of Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel, warning voters not to”get drawn from the lies or the violence” following the acrimonious election effort.

There was little fanfare from the days leading up to the vote, with an obvious lack of campaign books on the roads and public rallies that normally describe to the run-up to Israeli elections. With voter fatigue obviously, a variable, turnout could prove to be critical. Election day is a federal holiday in Israel along with also the nation usually boasts among the maximum voter turnouts among Western democracies. Nevertheless, the next repeat vote and anxieties of the newest coronavirus, that has so much was kept largely in check, seem to hinder turnout.

Israel set up some 15 channels to permit voting by countless Israelis that were ordered to stay in home-quarantine after potential exposure to the virus.

“The corona item is totally under control. Now we have taken all the necessary steps, individuals may vote and go, with complete assurance,” Netanyahu said, after putting his vote at Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has attempted to depict himself as a statesman who’s uniquely qualified to lead the nation through hard times.

Netanyahu, who enjoys widespread support from his party, insists that he has to stay prime minister in almost any unity bargain.

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In a campaign that’s been indicated by ugly smears, Netanyahu’s surrogates have dispersed unfounded allegations asserting Gantz is corrupt, unstable and vulnerable to blackmail by Iran.

The latest effort seems to have backfired. Recordings have shown Netanyahu whined on live tv about not being involved in a scheme to secretly record a Gantz consultant disparaging his supervisor. Channel 12 aired music Sunday night of Netanyahu talking into the rabbi that clandestinely listed the Gantz advisor and talking when it could be leaked to the press.

Netanyahu is desperate to score a narrow 61-seat majority in parliament along with his hard-line spiritual and civic allies before going to trial two weeks afterward. Netanyahu has neglected to protect himself immunity from prosecution, but with a solid hold on power he can seek out other avenues to violate the legal proceedings.

Netanyahu goes on trial March 17 for charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust coming from accusations that he accepted lavish gifts from billionaire buddies and guaranteed to encourage valuable laws for a significant paper in exchange for positive coverage. He pledged that he will establish his innocence.

Opinion polls predict similar consequences to the prior two stalemates, and also the deadlock increases the chance of a fourth election in rapid succession.

Maverick politician Avigdor Lieberman once more looms as a possible kingmaker, with Netanyahu nor Gantz able to secure a parliamentary majority with no support. Lieberman hasn’t committed himself to candidate, though he’s promised there won’t be a fourth election.

Polling stations opened across the nation at 7 a.m. Monday with exit polls anticipated at the close of the voting day at 10 p.m. (3 p.m. ET.)