Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Projected To Win Elections

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu Projected To Win Elections

With around 97 percent of all votes tallied, Likud has secured 26.27 percent of ballots, giving the party 25 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, according to the parliament's website.

The final results will depend on the performance of several small parties, including the Arab Balad party and the ultranationalist "New Right, " that were on the cusp of entering parliament.

Two of his potential allies, hawkish former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and economic-centric Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, have yet to formally confirm they would sit with Netanyahu and could emerge as wildcards. In any case, the country faces what could be weeks of political negotiations over the composition of a ruling coalition. This is because the military governor adopts almost every new Knesset legislation as a matter of course. Exit polls showed him surging ahead of his rival, former general Benny Gantz.

Israel's 21 percent Arab minority saw its parties lose seats.

As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.

This race was closer than in previous Israeli elections, with seasoned military veteran Benny Gantz pushing Mr Netanyahu to the wire.

"It is a night of colossal victory", Netanyahu, 69, told supporters at Likud headquarters. "I will begin forming a right-wing government with our natural partner this very night".

His attacks on the Arab sector fueled calls for a boycott and appeared to result in relatively low turnout by Arab voters.

The election will cement Mr Netanyahu's reputation as the most successful election-winner in Israeli history and prove that his brand of divisive Right-wing politics is the country's dominant political force.

In fact, the outcome of Israel's elections essentially confirms what we knew.

While Trump has rallied behind Netanyahu, the Israeli leader has seen growing disdain among Democrats.

Netanyahu said he told Trump "there shouldn't be the removal of even one settlement".

Netanyahu's office issued a statement Wednesday saying Trump "warmly congratulated" Netanyahu, who thanked the president for his "great support for Israel", including the White House's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. But by morning, he seemed to have realized his dream of becoming prime minister was lost, even if he didn't formally concede defeat.

"The skies may look overcast.but they can not hide the sun of hope that we have brought to the Israeli people and society", Gantz, 59, wrote in an open letter to supporters.

He vowed to change the tone of Israel's divisive political system and "be the prime minister of everyone, not just the ones who voted for me". Nor would they dare to give back the election campaign gifts handed to them by Trump.

"They have said no to peace and yes to the occupation", he said.

The prime minister has served for roughly 13 years, in stints from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2009 until the present.

As of now, the right-wing Likud party headed by Netanyahu and the opposition centrist block Kahol-lavan are in the lead.

Abbas aide Ahmed Majdalani says that Palestinians will seek the help of the worldwide community to try to block any annexation plans. The Arab leaders have shown that they are strong in their condemnations, but do nothing when it comes to taking action. "Four months ago he created a party that is now at least tied for being one of the largest parties today, and bigger than any party has been in recent memory, maybe 10 years or so", Barak said.

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