Uncertainity continues to loom over the formation of a new government in Israel as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni-led Kadima party, which has emerged as the single largest party in the general elections, is just one seat ahead of its rival Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.
Kadima, which vowed to continue with the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), has won 28 seats in the 120 member house, while Likud lost with a narrow margin of 36,000 votes, election commission officials said.
In view of the results, Netanyahu's chances at consolidating a relatively cohesive right-wing coalition are undeniably stronger than Livni's coalition-building options.
The close contest has brought President Shimon Peres in the thick of things and he is likely task the most suitable candidate to form the next government following consultations with leaders of all the political parties. The official results also confirmed that hardliner Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party emerged the third largest with 15 mandates, pushing Labour to the fourth place with mere 13 seats, the poorest show for the party.