Netanyahu Fails To Secure Majority In Third Israeli Election

Benjamin Netanyahu - File Pic

JERUSALEM - Israel appeared headed into another political stale­mate on Wednesday after nearly-complete results indicated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had failed to secure a clear major­ity for a right-wing bloc in parlia­ment, despite his claim of victory.

With 99pc of votes counted, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party was seen taking 35 of par­liament’s 120 seats, down from 36 initially projected after Monday’s election. His centrist challenger, Benny Gantz, was seen holding steady at 32 seats for his Blue and White party.

Israeli premiers generally need a coalition commanding 61 seats for their governments to sur­vive. Wednesday’s tally suggested that, with like-minded parties, a Netanyahu coalition could now ex­pect to garner only 58.

The four-term leader has been hamstrung by corruption cases in which he denies wrongdoing. Gantz has cited Netanyahu’s un­precedented indictment in refus­ing to join him in a coalition.

Yet Gantz, a former general who leads the centrist Blue and White party, seemed no closer to clinching a coalition, given ideo­logical differences in a camp of Netanyahu-naysayers which in­cludes ultranationalist ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman and Arab-Israeli parties.

That could spell further dead­lock and another snap election to follow Monday’s vote, which was Israel’s third in a year.

Netanyahu had claimed vic­tory on Tuesday. Some Israeli commentators ridiculed that, on Wednesday, as “fake news”.

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