Jerusalem - The leader of Israel’s Blue and White party has declared victory in parliamentary elections, despite mixed results in exit polls.

Addressing a raucous crowd of supporters. Benny Gantz said Tuesday’s vote was a “historic vote” for Israel and urged his rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to step aside.

Opinion polls show Gantz’s party tied or with a slight lead over Netanyahu’s Likud, though the polls appear to give Netanyahu a better chance of cobbling together a parliamentary majority with his hard-line ideological allies.

Gantz says that as leader of the largest party, he should be chosen by Israel’s president to form the next government.

“Elections have losers and elections have winners. And we are the winners,” he said.