Voting in Israel Photo- COURTESY

Israeli citizens headed to the polls on Tuesday – the second election this year – in an electoral race that is widely seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

About 68 per cent of the 5.88million eligible voters in Israel and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are expected to take part in the poll to choose the party that will lead the country’s 22st Knesset or parliament.

Voting opened at 7am (04:00 GMT) and will close at 10pm (19:00 GMT), at 11,163 polling stations, with thirty-one parties competing for the 120 seats.

It is the first time in Israel’s history that two elections have been held in the same year, after Netanyahu failed to form a government following an election on April 9.

The polls pit Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party and Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, against his toughest opponent in years: former military chief Benjamin “Benny” Gantz of the centrist Blue and White Party, and come as he faces the prospect of being indicted on criminal charges in three separate corruption cases.

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