“This is the highest turnout we’ve had in 10 years,” said Jonny Daniels, a political consultant for the right-wing Likud party, which is projected to keep its plurality in the Knesset, although Daniels said that it was hard to tell how big that would be. “Basically, nobody has a clue what’s happening. It’s impossible to tell how it’s going to end up.”
The Likud-Beiteinu coalition was widely projected to hold on to some 34 or 35 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, with the left-wing Labor Party holding down the opposition bloc as the second largest party. But as polling draws to a close, rumors have begun to circulate that it will actually be the brand-new Yesh Atid Party, whose name in English means “There Is A Future,” that will actually steal the place of second-largest party.
Yesh Atid, a liberal-centrist party headed by Israeli TV journalist Yair Lapid, was founded in 2012, and before Tuesday was polling at 13 to 14 seats, about equivalent with the right-wing Jewish Home party headed by Naftali Bennett.
An hour before polls closed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a message in Hebrew on his Facebook page, admitting that “Likud rule is in danger,” and encouraging readers to vote for Likud.