Jerusalem Post: “Netanyahu clinches 61 majority on Right on way to victory.” But caution, exit polls have been wrong before.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to win the general election by a slim majority, exit polls indicate. The Netanyahu-led alliance will secure 61 seats in the 120-member Knesset, early projections show.
Israel’s longest serving prime minister will need the support of Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party to form the next government. “The exit polls put Netanyahu on course to form the next government as he appears to have the 61 Knesset seats he needs – should former ally and defense minister Naftali Bennett agree to join his coalition,” Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva reported.
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 23, 2021
Bennett, who is being dubbed by the Israeli media as the kingmaker following the exit poll results, did not confirm if he will join a coalition government headed by Netanyahu. “I shall do only what is good for the State of Israel,” he said.
The Jerusalem Post reported the results of the exit polls:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to form a government for the seventh time in his three-decade political career, according to exit polls on the three television networks Tuesday night.
All three polls indicated that his bloc of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Religious Zionist Party received enough support together with the Yamina Party of Naftali Bennett, who said during the campaign that he was ready to join a coalition with either political bloc.
The Likud won 31 from Channel 12 and 33 from Channel 13. seats, Shas won 9 from Channel 12 and 8 from Channel 13, UTJ won 5 from Channel 12 and 7 from Channel 13, the Religious Zionist Party won 7 from Channel 12 and 6 from Channel 13 and Yamina won 8 from Channel 12 and 7 from Channel 13.
Sources in Likud said Netanyahu would try to form a government as soon as possible. Bennett’s associates said they were “not in Netanyahu’s pocket” and joining his government was not a foregone conclusion.
#BREAKING: According to 3 Exit Polls in Israel: PM Netanyahu will be able to form a coalition
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) March 23, 2021
While Netanyahu still faces the challenge of forming a stable coalition government, his rivals have failed to push him out of the political landscape despite putting the country through four elections in the span of two years.
Even the left-wing newspaper Haaretz admitted that the current prime minister is better placed to form the next government than his rivals. “[T]he anti-Netanyahu bloc, a motley crew of left, right and centrist factions, currently looks to have even fewer paths to forming a coalition,” the daily noted.
UPDATE (Thursday): With almost all votes accounted for, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing alliance appears to have fallen short of the 61 seat-mark needed for the majority, and will require further coalition partners to form the next government.
The “anti-Netanyahu bloc has 57 seats, pro-PM bloc has 52, with [right-wing] Yamina and [Islamist] Ra’am holding the balance; no clear path to coalition,” the Times of Israel reported.
This makes Netanyahu’s path to government formation more difficult than initially projected. “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.DONATE
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