Bibi fails to win ma­jor­ity in close Is­raeli elec­tion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global -

Jerusalem: Is­raeli PM Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s Likud party trailed its main ri­val Blue and White by 31to 32 seats on Wed­nes­day af­ter an un­prece­dented re­peat elec­tion, putting the coun­try’s long­est serv­ing pre­mier on a shaky ground and rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a unity govern­ment. Is­raelis voted on Tues­day in their coun­try’s sec­ond gen­eral elec­tion in five months af­ter 69-year-old Ne­tanyahu failed to form a gov­ern­ing coali­tion with a vi­able ma­jor­ity fol­low­ing April’s vote. The Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mit­tee said that Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party seemed to be tak­ing a lead over Likud af­ter 91% votes were counted.

As per fig­ures shared by the CEC, the cen­tre-left bloc now has 56 seats com­pared to Ne­tanyahu-led bloc, com­prised of right-wing and ul­tra-Ortho­dox par­ties, which is at 55 seats in the 120-mem­ber Par­lia­ment. The Joint List, an al­liance of mostly Arab Is­raeli par­ties, also has gained a seat stand­ing at 13. These num­bers may change slightly when the votes of soldiers are counted later on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day. The sec­u­lar Yis­rael Beit­enu party won 9 seats, mak­ing its leader and for­mer de­fence min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man the king­maker in the elec­tions, as pre­dicted ear­lier in the exit polls.

Mean­while, Ne­tanyahu’s of­fice said the PM Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu and his main chal­lenger Benny Gantz were dead­locked on Wed­nes­day, me­dia re­ported, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a unity govern­ment or even the end of the pre­mier’s rule

PM will not travel to New York next week for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in the wake of the elec­tion re­sults. For­eign min­is­ter Yis­rael Katz will speak at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in­stead of Ne­tanyahu, a spokes­woman said.

Gantz has not ruled out a unity ad­min­is­tra­tion with Likud but has said Blue and White would not join such a govern­ment if it in­cluded Ne­tanyahu, cit­ing loom­ing cor­rup­tion charges against the prime min­is­ter, who has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

Ne­tanyahu, who has been pre­mier for a to­tal of more than 13 years, faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in con­nec­tion with three cases.


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