JERUSALEM, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Israelis went to the polls Tuesday morning in a parliamentary election, which opinion polls have predicted will be easily won by incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu union.
The following are some key facts and procedures for the elections:
-- A total of 32 parties are vying for the 120 seats in the single-chamber parliament, the Knesset. Knesset elections are based on a vote for a party rather than for individuals. Knesset seats are assigned in proportion to each party's percentage of the total national vote. The minimum threshold for a party to get a seat in the parliament is at least 2 percent of the total votes cast.
-- There are more than 5.65 million eligible voters and 10,132 polling stations across the country. Election day is a holiday in order to enable all potential voters to participate.
-- National elections to the Knesset are held once every four years, unless circumstances call for early elections.
-- After the elections, President Shimon Peres will hold consultations with the parties elected to the Knesset and assigns the task of forming the new government to a Knesset member. This legislator is usually the leader of a party or coalition winning the most seats in the Knesset.
-- The prime minister-designate has a period of 28 days to form a government, which can be extended by 14 days. If he or she fails, the president may then assign the task to another parliamentarian.
-- When a government has been formed, the designated premier presents it to the Knesset within 45 days of publication of election results. The government is installed when the Knesset has expressed confidence in it by a majority of 61 Knesset members, and then the ministers assume office.
-- To date, no single party has received enough Knesset seats to be able to form a government by itself; thus all Israeli governments have been based on coalitions of several parties.