Warning of election ‘disaster’, Israel’s Netanyahu battles for survival

Warning of election ‘disaster’, Israel’s Netanyahu battles for survival

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battled for his political survival in the final hours of a close-run election on Tuesday, urging voters to support him to avert a “disaster”.

His voice hoarse from weeks of campaigning, the veteran leader took to the streets and social media, at one point using a megaphone in Jerusalem’s bus station, to urge voters to extend his unbroken decade in power.

Opinion polls put former armed forces chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party neck-and-neck with Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, and suggest the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party could emerge as kingmaker in coalition talks.

Prohibited by law from campaigning on mainstream media, party leaders took to social networks to mobilize support.