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A referendum on Bibi? We check in on the Israeli election




Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, addresses his supporters at the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on April 8, 2019, a day ahead of the electoral polls
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, addresses his supporters at the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem on April 8, 2019, a day ahead of the electoral polls
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

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It’s a crowded field in Israel’s elections as over 40 parties will be slugging it out on Tuesday for seats in the country’s parliament.

There is the right-wing flagship, centrist newcomers, ultra-Orthodox parties, Arab parties and fringe movements. But only a handful will win the necessary 3.25 percent of total votes cast to cross the electoral threshold needed to enter the Knesset.

Israeli democracy operates on a parliamentary system of proportional-representation in which the government needs a majority to rule. Since no party has ever earned more than 61 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, a coalition is required.

Polls show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist Likud in fierce competition with the centrist Blue and White party and their challenger for the presidential bid, Benny Gantz. Both camps are trying to rile up their bases to become the largest party in parliament while also convincing the smaller parties to join them in a coalition after the results become known.

We check in on the latest.

With files from the Associated Press.

Guests:

Daniel Estrin, international correspondent for NPR, based in Jerusalem; he tweets @DanielEstrin

Aaron David Miller, vice president for New Initiatives at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based non-partisan policy forum that tackles global issues through independent research; former advisor to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State on Middle East policies; he tweets @aarondmiller2



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