Iran Election Guide

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Israel (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Election Day

2045 GMT: Israel. Exit polls, announced at the close of balloting 45 minutes ago, indicate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing alliance has a narrow lead in the Knesset but has lost ground to centre-left parties.

Netanyahu now faces the task of forging a new coalition Government with only 31 seats for the alliance between his Likud Party and the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu. Four years ago, Likud-Beitenu took 42 seats.

Sixty-one members are needed for a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

He is expected to seek an alliance with a new nationalist party, Habayit Hayehudi, led by the emerging politician Naftali Bennett. It is expected to win 12 seats, the same number as the religious Shas Party.

The surprise of the election may be the centre-left Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, which has finished second to the Likud-Beitenu coalition and just ahead of Labour.

Yesh Atid, led by journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid, is projected at 18 or 19 seats and Labour with 17.

1955 GMT: Yemen. A US drone killed four suspected insurgents in a strike on their car on Tuesday, in the fourth such attack in four days.

There have been at least 26 strikes since 24 December.

"The strike targeted a gathering of al Qaeda members who had made the area a center for training. One of the cars was hit and everyone inside was killed....The others fled," a local official said.

1945 GMT: Tunisia. Amnesty International has said that two activists, on trial tomorrow for their drawing of graffiti last November, must not be imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression.

Oussama Bouajila and Chahine Berrich, from the anti-poverty street art group Zwewla (“The Poor”) are charged with “spreading false information with the aim of disrupting the public order”, “defying the state of emergency”, and “writing on a public building without permission”.

Both men face up to five years in prison if convicted.

1830 GMT: Israel. Back from an academic break to find that voter turnout in the Israeli election, with 90 minutes until polls close, is 63.7%.

At the same time in the 2009 election, the turnout was 59.7%.

1206 GMT: Mali. French and Malian Government troops have reclaimed the town of Douentza, held by insurgents since September.

Douentza had been the outer edge of insurgent control until they surged southward earlier this month, before the counter-attack by French and Malian forces.

On Monday, the French and Malian troops arrived in Douentza to find that the Islamists had retreated from the town.

1146 GMT: Mali. A military spokesman has said that the French army regards a photograph of one of its soldiers, shown posing in a skeleton mask, as “unacceptable behaviour".

Colonel Thierry Burkhard told a press conference that image,was “not representative of the action that brought France to Mali to help” or of that which soldiers carried out “putting their lives in peril”,

Taken by AFP photographer Issouf Sanogo, the photograph shows a soldier at Niono, in central Mali, hiding his face from desert sand using a scarf that resembles a death mask. It is reminiscent of a character in the popular combat video game Call of Duty.

The army was working to identify the soldier, Burkhard said.

1126 GMT: Iraq. Car bombs in and around Baghdad, have killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens more.


Attacks took place in Mahmoudiya, south of the capital,in the northern Baghdad suburb of Taji, and in a mostly Shia district in north Baghdad.

0916 GMT: Bahrain. King Hamad has directed the Minister of Justice to invite "representatives of the political societies and independent members of the political community in Bahrain to resume political discussions", the Information Affairs Authority announced.

The statement said topics for dialogue "will be those pending issues to be agreed upon, aiming to achieve further consensus around the political agenda".

0624 GMT: Israel. Voting began almost 90 minutes ago in the general elections.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to return for a third term with a smaller majority in a coalition government, with his Likud Party taking the most seats in the Knesset.

Likud has formed an electoral pact with the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, but still is likely to need other religious parties  for a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

"We want Israel to succeed, we vote Likud-Beitenu....The bigger it is, the more Israel will succeed," Netanyahu, alongside his wife and two sons, said after casting his ballot.

More than 30 parties have fielded candidates. About 5.66 million Israelis are eligible to vote until the polls close at 10 p.m. (2000 GMT).

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