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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:39 AM

Netanyahu claims election win despite losses

Hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged the bruised winner of Israel's election on Tuesday, claiming victory despite unexpected losses to resurgent center-left challengers.

Exit polls showed the Israeli leader's Likud party, yoked with the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu group, would still be the biggest bloc in the 120-member assembly with 31 seats, 11 fewer than the 42 they held in the previous parliament.
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Netanyahu's relations with U.S. President Barack Obama have been notably tense and Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, told the BBC the election was unlikely to change that.

"President Obama doesn't have high expectations that there's going to be a government in Israel committed to making peace and is capable of the kind of very difficult and painful concessions that would be needed to achieve a two-state solution," he said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/22/us-israel-election-idUSBRE90K0FP20130122

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