Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party has won a surprise victory in Israel’s election, the BBC reports.
Exit polls had forecast a dead heat but with almost all votes counted, results give Likud a clear lead over its main rival, the centre-left Zionist Union.
The outcome gives Mr Netanyahu a strong chance of forming a right-wing coalition government.
The result puts the incumbent on course to clinch a fourth term and become Israel’s longest-serving prime minster.
The latest tally gives Likud 29 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, with the Zionist Union on 24 seats.
In a speech to his jubilant supporters in Tel Aviv after Tuesday’s polls closed, Mr Netanyahu said he had already spoken to the leaders of other right-of-centre parties about forming a new government “without delay”.