Israeli PM in tight race for electorate

There was a record turnout within the first hours of voting as Netanyahu battles for his political future.

FILE: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: Supplied

TEL AVIV- A little after halfway into the Israeli elections, some 36.7 percent of the population have cast their ballots.

There was a record turnout high within the first three hours of voting as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battles for his political future.

"The competition is tight and it's not clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu's gamble in calling for early elections is going to pay off.

Outside the 10, 000 polling stations around the country last minute campaigning continues.

Youngsters have set up booths and are handing brochures, waving posters of their candidates.

The first results are expected just after 10pm this evening.

In an attempt to take votes from right wing parties, Netanyahu has promised he will never support a Palestinian state.

But while this might appeal to Israeli right wingers, it's further convinced those in the middle and the left political spectrum not to support him.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are closely watching the Israeli parliamentary election.

Many fear that if Netanyahu is voted back into power and a right-wing government is established, peace talks between the sides will remain deadlocked.

The Palestinian leadership is cashing in on who they want to see take up the reigns.

Strangely Hamas wants to see a Netanyahu victory since any peace talks between the Rival Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and Israel will compromise Hamas's political standing.

Even many rival Palestinian Fatah factions prefer a Netanyahu win since, in their mind, it will help the diplomatic fight against Israel.

But still, most Palestinian's in the street either say they want Netanyahu out or they don't care what happens in Israel, it still bodes badly for them.

A group of South African Israelis in front of a polling station in Tel Aviv have told Eyewitness News that Israeli politics is like cricket, "You have to grow up with it, to understand it."