[UPDATE: Actual results have since started coming in. I will put the rest of this planting "below the fold." The real action is in the newer planting, although some interesting ideas about some likely pivotal parties are propagated below, thanks to Vasi and Jonathan.]
Polling places are now closed. From Reuters:
Exit polls projected interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party would win the most parliamentary seats…
Well, now, I did not need an exit poll to tell me that. More interestingly, the estimates for Kadima are ranging 29-32 seats (low!), for Labor 20-22 (high!), and put Yisrael Beiteinu ahead of Likud, 14 to 12.
(Update) Now, the JPost has a more detailed breakdown of exit-poll estimates:
(center-left subtotal around 57)
Yisrael Beiteinu 12-14
(center-right subtotal around 49)
It takes 61 seats to empower and sustain a cabinet. The center-left, apparently, did not make it. However, the center-right bloc would not be able to block Olmert and Kadima, but some party from within it may have to be included to reach 61 seats. The Pensioners party made it in, surprisingly: 6-8 seats. It is possible that they could find their way into the cabinet as an alternative to a party like United Torah Judaism.
The JPost reports ranges for blocs, but I am reporting sums of the averages of each party’s estimates, on the grounds that most of the variation for any party within a bloc would come at the expense of others within the same bloc. That may not be entirely accurate, but it seems more so than putting the center left’s range anywhere from 54-59.
The JPost also includes the Arab parties (6-8 seats) within the center left, but given that they are certain not to be in the coalition, I have left them out.
Remember, these are just exit polls!