Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Israeli national election, securing a record fifth term in office despite running neck-and-neck with his challenger Benny Gantz, the country’s three main television channels said on Wednesday. With 97 percent of the votes counted, neither of the candidates’ parties had captured a ruling majority, but Netanyahu was clearly in a strong position to form a coalition government with other right-wing factions that have backed him.The closely contested race was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu’s character and record in the face of corruption allegations. He faces possible indictment in three graft cases, and has denied wrongdoing in all of them.
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