Netanyahu leads Israel vote but centrists win big
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, stung by a centrist electoral surge, pledged on Wednesday to seek a broad coalition focused on socio-economic issues but faced new international pressure on the peace process.
After a bruising election that saw the centrist Yesh Atid party win a surprise second place, Mr Netanyahu said the Israeli electorate had sent a "clear message".
"The Israeli public wants me... to put together a government which will include three big changes internally: a greater sharing of the burden (of military service), affordable housing and changes in the system of government," he said in brief remarks broadcast on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Netanyahu's rightwing Mr Likud won 31 seats on a joint list with the hardline nationalist Yisrael Beitenu of ex-foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, but the Yesh Atid party, led by former journalist Yair Lapid, claimed second place.