Israel Election Netanyahu Claims Biggest Win Amid Vote Count

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Israel Election Netanyahu Claims Biggest Win Amid Vote Count

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory in Israel’s general election, with partial results putting him ahead of main rival Benny Gantz.

With 90% of votes counted, his Likud party and its right-wing allies were on course to win 59 seats, Israeli media reported. However, that would leave them two short of a majority.

Mr Netanyahu nevertheless declared the outcome “the biggest win of my life”.

Monday’s election was Israel’s third in less than a year.

Neither of the two main party leaders was able to command a majority in the 120-seat parliament following the last two rounds.

Mr Netanyahu, 70, is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. He is seeking a record fifth term, having been in office from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2009.

The election took place two weeks before Mr Netanyahu is due in court to face corruption charges, which he denies.

How close is the race?

With about 90% of votes counted, Likud had 29.35%, compared to 26.34% for Mr Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance, the Central Elections Committee said.

Israeli media reported that the tallies would result in Likud winning 36 seats and Blue and White 32.

The Joint List alliance representing Israel’s Arab minority was on track to get 15 seats; the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism 10 and seven respectively; the centre-left Labour-Gesher-Meretz list seven; the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party seven; and the right-wing Yamina alliance six.

https://www.bbc.com

The breakdown would leave Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc with 59 seats and the centre-left bloc 54. Yisrael Beitenu, whose leader Avigdor Lieberman was in the position of kingmaker after the last two elections, could tip the balance.

Despite the projected shortfall, Mr Netanyahu told a joyful crowd of his supporters in Tel Aviv early on Tuesday that he had won “a victory against all odds”.

Ángel Di María

“Our rivals said: the Netanyahu era is over. But with joined forces, we turned the situation around. We turned lemons into lemonade!”

He promised to build “a strong and stable government” as soon as possible.

“We must avoid any more elections. It’s time to heal the rifts,” he said.

Israel Election Netanyahu Claims Biggest Win Amid Vote Count

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