Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) campaigns in the southern city of Ashkelon March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced a fight for his political survival on Tuesday as Israelis voted in an election that opinion polls predict the centre-left opposition could win.After a bitterly contested campaign, the election has turned into a referendum on "Bibi" Netanyahu, 65, who has been in power for a total of nine years spread over three terms. When Netanyahu called the election in December, two years early, he looked set for an easy victory.Some voters have talked of Netanyahu fatigue.If Netanyahu can draw votes from other right-wing parties, he may be in a position to be asked first by Israel's president to try to form a coalition.It also takes time: the party invited to try to form a government has up to 42 days to negotiate a coalition.Since there are more parties on the right and far-right, Netanyahu would have the advantage in coalition building if the Zionist Union wins by only a small margin. Another factor is the parties from Israel's 20 percent Arab minority, which for the first time have united under one list and are expected to win around 13 seats as well.
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