...due to the dramatic rise in support of the Likud and Israel Beiteinu compared with the previous election, it seemed that Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu would have a better chance than Kadima head Tzipi Livni of forming the next coalition.
- According to Channel 1, the right-wing bloc won 63 Knesset seats and the left wing 57;
- Channel 2 predicted 64 for the right and 56 for the left; and
- Channel 10, like Channel 1, predicted 63 and 57.
...Once the final results of the election are known, President Shimon Peres will begin a round of consultations with party leaders, to hear who they are recommending for prime minister. In the past, the task of forming a coalition has been given to the head of the largest party.
But election legislation gives Peres wide leeway, and he can grant the first opportunity to the party leader who he judges has the best chance in forming a government, even if that party did not earn the most mandates in the election.
The three exit polls, on average, found Shas to be the fifth largest party with 9-10 seats (12 in current Knesset), followed by United Torah Judaism with 5 (6), Meretz 4-5 (5), Chadash 4 (3), Jewish Home 3-4 (5), National Union 3 (2), Balad 2-3 (3) and UAL with 2-4 mandates (4 in current Knesset).
Following the closing of polling stations around the country, the final voter turnout stood at 65.2 percent of the eligible 5.2 million voters, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) said on Tuesday night.
The turnout was slightly higher than the previous election in 2006, but lower than the voter turnout in the 2003 election.
2006 saw the lowest turnout rate in Israeli history, with only 63.55% of voters casting their ballots by the day's end. The previous record had been set in the 2003 elections, with a 67.8 percent voter turnout