Outcome still up in air, officials start counting 450,000 absentee ballots

‘Double envelope’ ballots, some 10% of total, could yet determine Netanyahu’s fate; officials expect final results by Friday; tiny percentage of regular votes still outstanding

The Central Elections Committee on Wednesday night began counting some 450,000 absentee ballots, and said it hoped to conclude the tally by Friday morning.

The ballots, cast in special double envelopes, account for some 10 percent of the national vote, and could yet determine whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is able to form a new government, whether his rivals do so, or whether the political gridlock continues and Israel heads for yet another election after four inconclusive rounds.

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