Netanyahu’s bloc gets 52 seats, nine short of majority.
After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rivals dragged Israelis through four general elections in two years, the final result of the March 23 vote has ended in yet another deadlock.
As the Israeli election authority releases the final tally, Netanyahu appears to have fallen short of the 61-seat majority needed to form the government.
The anti-Netanyahu bloc has cemented its lead as counting comes to a close. The prime minister and his allies won 52 seats, as the rival left-wing alliance secured 57 in a 120 member Knesset.
The Jerusalem Post reported the near-final result:
The Central Elections Committee completed the process of counting all the votes cast in Tuesday’s election on Thursday afternoon, a committee spokeswoman announced.
The spokeswoman said it would now take time to verify the counting and to upload the new numbers to the system.
But Channel 12 reported that there were no new changes in the mandates of the parties since Thursday morning, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s camp with Yamina remained at 59 seats.
The Likud won 30 seats, Yesh Atid 17, Shas 9 and Blue and White 8.
There are four parties with seven seats: Yamina, Labor, United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu.
Some commenters have speculated the Arab-Islamic Ra’am helping the Netanyahu bloc cross the 61-seat threshold. The party has indicated its desire to play the kingmaker.
Israel’s longest-serving prime minister still has a few paths open to form the next government, the media argues. “Netanyahu could still form a coalition and secure a sixth term in office, but that would require enlisting the Islamist party Ra’am and convincing his right-wing allies to accept this,” the Israel Hayom newspaper noted as the final results poured in.
The inclusion of Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party’s seven seats could take Netanyahu’s tally to 59, two short of the majority. But the former Netanyahu ally has so far refused to commit to any bloc.
On the other hand, Netanyahu has refused to take support from the Islamist Ra’am and other extremist Arab parties. “They represent parties that oppose the State of Israel,” he asserted two weeks ago.
A minority government of the anti-Netanyahu bloc, at the mercy of right-wing Yamina or Arab-Islamist Ra’am, will probably cause the most unstable coalition in Israel’s history.
It will be too premature for his rivals to write Netanyahu off — a politician who has seen more rough and tumble politics than any of his rivals. A handful of defectors from the rival bloc could change the electoral landscape. During the campaign, Netanyahu had indicated the possibility of a few lawmakers from the opposing camp crossing over the aisle to back him.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.