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Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has reached out to a new centrist party after his right-wing bloc lost eleven seats in the parliamentary elections, taking only 31 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, Al Jazeera reports. President Shimon Peres is expected to ask Netanyahu to attempt to form a new government, according to the BBC. His Likud-Beitenu alliance lost a quarter of its seats in the Knesset but remains the largest grouping. He has offered to work with the newly-formed Yesh Atid party, which shocked observers by coming second with 19 seats. However, its leader, popular former TV presenter Yair Lapid, has demanded reform of a law under which ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students can defer their military service. Religious parties in the current governing coalition are strongly opposed to any changes. Mr Lapid has also said he would only join a government that was committed to reviving the peace process with the Palestinians, which has stalled since Mr Netanyahu took office. “Whoever wants Yesh Atid in the coalition will need to bring these things,” Ofer Shelah, a senior member of the party, told Israeli Army Radio. The results on Wednesday defied forecasts that Israel’s next government would veer sharply to the right at a time when the country faces mounting international isolation, growing economic problems and regional turbulence, Al Jazzera points out. A coalition that joins parties with dramatically divergent views on peacemaking, the economy and the military draft, could however, easily be headed for gridlock. Israeli media said that with 99.8 percent of votes counted, each bloc had 60 of parliament’s 120 seats. Commentators said Netanyahu, who called early elections three months ago expecting easy victory, would be expected to form the next government because the rival camp drew 12 of its 60 seats from Arab parties that traditionally are excluded from coalition building. A surprising strong showing by a political newcomer, the centrist Yesh Atid, or There is a Future, party, in Tuesday’s vote turned pre-election forecasts on their heads and dealt a setback to Netanyahu.Following the results, Lapid posted just one word on his Facebook page: “Thanks”. Netanyahu called Lapid early on Wednesday and offered to work together.