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Israel election: Netanyahu bids for a return

Israelis have begun voting for the fifth time in less than four years, with former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu bidding for a comeback.

Voting, which commenced earlier on Tuesday, is likely to be determined by a far-right party that has risen from the fringe to become a potential coalition kingmaker.

Analysts believe that after years of deadlock, voter exasperation may hurt turnout, although a recent Reuters report says surging support for the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism bloc and firebrand co-leader Itamar Ben-Gvir has galvanised the campaign.

Mr Netanyahu, the Jewish state’s longest-serving premier, is on trial on corruption charges, which he has vehemently denied, but his right-wing Likud party is still expected to finish as the largest in the 120-seat parliament.

However, the final opinion polls from last week showed the embattled former PM still short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in the Knesset (or parliament), opening the prospect of weeks of coalition wrangling and possibly new elections in no distant future.

Writing by Tony Okerafor