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Livni Surprises In Israel Election

Tzipi Livni, leader of the centrist Kadima party, took a slight lead in exit polls and early returns after Israelis voted Tuesday in parliamentary elections. However, with Likud a close second and a splinter ultraconservative party set to win about 15 seats, conservatives may be the real winners.

Update: Livni won, but just barely. With Likud winning almost as many seats, both sides are scrambling to form a coalition and each has his and her eye on the anti-Arab Yisrael Beiteinu.

Haaretz:

Despite the poll results, it is not certain that Livni will be able to muster the 61-seat coalition needed to form a government. The elections were called when she failed to achieve this goal following the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert late last year.

If the exit polls are correct, the right-wing bloc, led by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, will comprise 63-64 seats, while the center-left bloc, headed by Livni, will take 56-57 seats. This means that a win in the polls does not necessarily mean that the next government will have a center-left bent.

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Results from Haaretz:

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