The first story of the exit polls here in Israel seems to be the success of Yair Lapid, the charismatic and populist TV man, who looks set to win 19 seats.

Lapid has appealed to a large swathe of the disgruntled secular middle classes, talking a lot about social issues, but not a lot about the peace process.

It looks like it still could be good news for Bibi Netanyahu, the Prime Minister. He polled at 31, which is weaker than last week’s polls suggested. But I’m told it should be quite easy – though of course this all early speculation – for him to bring Lapid into a broad coalition. And it might be bad for the ultra-orthodox bloc. Shas, the Sephardi party, are polling at 12, and might end up isolated – though their supporters vote late, and they have a canny habit of ending up in government no matter way.

The exit polls suggest a move to the Left, then, but not one which harms Likud, or Netanyahu, who still looks certain to remain Prime Minister, largely thanks to the lack of credible alternative. There’s a long way to go though…

Tags: Israel