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Dramatic surprise in Israeli elections

January 22nd, 2013
04:33 PM ET

By Samuel Burke & Mick Krever, CNN

Exit polls in Tuesday’s Israeli election have delivered a dramatic surprise.

The second-place finisher, behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, was Yesh Atid, or “There is a Future,” the center-left party whose founder campaigned for eliminating the exemption for ultra-religious Jews to avoid military service.

As expected, Netanyahu’s Likud won first place, with 31 seats out of 120 in the Knesset. It was a comfortable plurality, but far below the commanding result that would have given him broad leeway to form a coalition –  negotiations to build that coalition will presumably begin immediately.

Yesh Atid is projected to win 19 seats, and Labor is projected to come in third with 17.

The far-right party, Habayit Hayehudit, or “The Jewish Home,” is projected to take fourth. Its fourth-place finish, though somewhat weaker than had been expected, represents a shift toward the far right in Israel.

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine, discussed the exit polls with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and what they could mean for the future of Israeli politics – which you can watch in the video above.

In a recent New Yorker article, Remnick examined the seeming shift to the right in Israeli politics and the rise of parties clearly opposed to a state for the Palestinians.


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