With 97 percent of votes counted, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alliance is projected to win the majority and form the next government.
“The Netanyahu bloc stayed at 65 seats [120-seat parliament] in what is assuredly a big victory with the vote counting almost finished,” the Israeli TV channel i24News reported Wednesday morning.
A clear victory for the Netanyahu-led alliance could bring stability after a string of failed coalition governments. Netanyahu’s “right-wing and religious bloc in clear majority to form stable government and end the political stalemate of the past election cycles,” the Israeli news outlet Ynetnews reported.
#BREAKING: Exit polls in Israel show Netanyahu will be able to form a majority 61 MP coalition
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 1, 2022
“According to the polls, Netanyahu’s bloc, which includes Likud, Religious Zionist Party (RZP), United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas, crossed the 61-seat threshold and will be able to form the next coalition. In some of the polls, his bloc reached 62 seats,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
Current Prime Minister Yair Lapid”s centrist Yesh Atid party is expected to win 24 seats, with his alliance securing 54 seats overall — seven short of a majority, exit polls suggest.
Early Wednesday morning, Netanyahu appeared before his jubilant supporters to deliver a speech, declaring his nationalist alliance was “on the cusp of a huge victory.”
The Times of Israel reported his remarks:
Netanyahu calls the Likud’s election performance “a huge expression of faith.” “I’m not the king,” he says, as chants of “Bibi, king of Israel” ring out again.
“I need to be elected, and I will be elected, thanks to you.”
He hails Likud as “by far the biggest party in Israel,” and congratulates “our partners in the national camp” on their electoral performance.
He says the vote shows that the Israeli people “want security, a reduced cost of living — it wants strength, it doesn’t want weakness…” He vows “to restore the national pride that’s been taken from us.”
Netanyahu stresses Israel as a Jewish state, but does not specify Israel as a democracy: The people, he says, “want a Jewish state — a state that honors its citizens, but this is a Jewish state,” he repeats. “Our national state, that we dreamed of and fought for, and spilled seas of tears and blood to achieve.”
The people, he goes on, “want a stable government, an experienced government… a prime minister who looks after our soldiers, our police.”
If early projections are correct, Netanyahu — Israel’s longest-serving prime minister — will return to office after sixteen months, a period in which a series of so-called “anti-Netanyahu” coalition governments were formed to keep him from power.DONATE
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