Israeli Election: With 97% Counted, Benjamin Netanyahu Has ‘Easy Path’ to Historic Fifth Term


Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party narrowly won the Israeli election Tuesday, with 97% of the ballots counted as of Wednesday morning.

His rival, former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Benny Gantz, led the opposition Blue and White party to a strong showing. Both parties will receive 35 seats (out of 120) in the next Knesset (parliament). However, Likud won by less than 1% — roughly a few thousand votes — with little left to count.

Moreover, the bloc of right-wing and religious Jewish parties is much larger than the bloc of left-wing and Arab parties, with the right projected to win 65 seats and the left projected to win only 55. That means Netanyahu is very likely to form the next government, after consultation with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who will meet with each of the elected parties’ leaders to ask them formally to submit their recommendation as to who should be prime minister.

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