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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israelis began trickling into polling stations Tuesday morning to cast their votes in a parliamentary election expected to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to office despite years of stalled peacemaking with the Palestinians and mounting economic troubles.
Many voters have said they'll cast ballots for Netanyahu because they see no viable alternative. Polls suggest hawkish and religious parties that have been his traditional allies will form the core of his next coalition government.
The big question is whether he will be able to woo centrist parties with more moderate positions on peacemaking into his governing coalition — and whether they would have any influence on his policies.
The conventional wisdom is that the incoming coalition will be even more hard-line than the current government. Up to one-sixth of the incoming legislature is expected to be settlers who advocate holding on to captured land the Palestinians want for a future state. A likely coalition partner, the pro-settler Jewish Home, is even pressing to annex large chunks of the West Bank, the core of any future Palestinian state.