April 9, 2019 / 7:14 PM / 5 months ago

Netanyahu, main rival neck and neck in Israel election's early exit polls

A combination picture shows Benny Gantz (left), leader of Blue and White party, at an election campaign event in Ashkelon, Israel, April 3, 2019, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiling at a polling station in Jerusalem, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File photo, Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS?

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing right-wing Likud Party appeared almost neck and neck with his main centrist rival for seats in parliament on election day, varying exit polls indicated.

After a tightly-fought race with former general Benny Gantz, the preliminary polls, all giving slightly different projections, mean Netanyahu, 69, is on course to continue leading the Israeli government, securing a record fifth term and becoming Israel’s longest-serving prime minister in the summer.

Reporting by Stephen Farrell

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