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News number: 8711230901

13:58 | 2009-02-11

World

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Livni Leads in Israeli Parliamentary Election

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israel's Kadima party is leading the parliamentary election by a narrow margin over former premier Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, TV exit polls say.



Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima party is leading the right-wing Likud with a 2-seat margin in Tuesday's parliamentary election, it was announced Tuesday night.

In the 120-member parliament, Kadima has won 30 seats, while her main rival Netanyahu has garnered 28, Israeli TV Channel 10 reported.

The exit polls showed that the ultranationalist Israel Beiteinu party and the center-left Labor party garnered 14 and 13 seats respectively.

Despite fears of low voter turnout, 59.7 percent of the almost 5.3 million eligible voters cast their ballots.

For weeks before the poll, Netanyahu was the favorite to win the election, but Livni clawed back and lifed the hopes of the Kadima party, which is still reeling from a series of corruption scandals that forced Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign.

As no single party is expected to secure more than a fourth of the seats, the person who garners the most votes will not be automatically asked to form a government, but rather the one with the best chance of cobbling together a coalition of 61 seats for a parliamentary majority.