Exit polls show Netanyahu ahead in Israel election

JERUSALEM Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:04pm EST

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightist Likud-Beitenu party came out on top in Israel's election on Tuesday, exit polls said, but center-left parties made surprising gains, potentially complicating coalition building.

Netanyahu's party was forecast to win 31 seats in the 1200- member parliament, according to three different exit polls broadcast on Israeli television.

The new centrist Yesh Atid party was projected to come a surprise second, followed by the left-leaning Labour and far-right Jewish Home parties.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

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