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The Boston Globe

World

Weakened Netanyahu likely to serve a 3d term

Centrist party surprises with strong showing

TEL AVIV — A weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged Wednesday from Israel’s national election likely to serve a third term, according to preliminary results and political analysts after voters on Tuesday gave a surprising second place to a new centrist party founded by a television celebrity who emphasized kitchen-table issues like class size and apartment prices.

For Netanyahu, who entered the race an overwhelming favorite with no obvious challenger, the outcome was a humbling rebuke as his ticket lost seats in the new Parliament. Overall, the prime minister’s conservative team came in first, but it was the center, led by the political novice Yair Lapid, 49, that emerged newly invigorated, suggesting that at the very least Israel’s rightward tilt may be stalled.

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