Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Donald Trump expects close Israeli election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is battling for his political survival

US President Donald Trump said he believes the Israeli elections will be "close". AP
US President Donald Trump said he believes the Israeli elections will be "close". AP

US President Donald Trump on Monday predicted a tight Israeli election as his ally Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to retain power.

"Big election tomorrow in Israel," Mr Trump said. "It's going to be close. It's a 50-50 election."

Israel is holding its second election in five months on Tuesday, with Mr Netanyahu battling for his political survival.

Israel's longest-serving prime minister suffered one of the biggest defeats of his career after April elections, when he failed to form a coalition despite his right-wing Likud and its allies winning a majority of seats.

Rather than risk having Israeli President Reuven Rivlin choose someone else to try to form a government, Mr Netanyahu, who could be indicted on corruption charges in coming weeks, opted for a second election.

Final opinion polls released on Friday indicated another tight race between Likud and the centrist Blue and White alliance, led by former military chief of staff Benny Gantz, and a repeat stalemate cannot be ruled out.

The poll is expected to once again amount to a referendum on Mr Netanyahu.

Updated: September 17, 2019 02:31 PM

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