In a mild surprise, the exit polls are showing that Tzipi Livni will win the Israeli elections.
Channel 1, Channel 2 and Channel 10 polling of voters as they left the ballot box all pointed to victory for Kadima, headed by Tzipi Livni.
The Channel 1 poll gave Kadima 30 seats, Likud 28 seats, and Labor 13 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu is predicted to win 14 seats, according to the poll.
According to the Channel 2 poll, Kadima will hold 29 seats, Likud will take 27 seats and Labor 13 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu will have 15 seats in the new Knesset.
The Channel 10 poll indicated that Likud will take 28 seats, Kadima will hold 30 seats and Labor 13 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu will have 15 seats.
However, upon further study, it looks like the right and far-right parties have more seats than the center-left parties, which means that, although Livni may have more seats than Benjamin Netanyahu, she may not be able to form a government, and President Shimon Peres may let Netanyahu do so. If Livni can somehow convince a section of the far-right to be included in the coalition, she almost certainly could not make any moves toward a peace deal, because the far-right coalition member would collapse the government. As Yglesias says, for the Palestinians the result would be "leaders will either be too weak to make peace or else too opposed to peace to bargain with." Which is EXACTLY what Israelis say about Fatah and Hamas.
The Middle East is kind of a mess. In case you didn't know.