Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory in Monday’s vote after exit polls projected the right-wing leader’s Likud party had come out on top.
“We stood in front of strong forces. They told us we are going to lose, that it was the end of the Netanyahu era,” he said. “We turned lemons into lemonade.”
But his main opponent, former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz, stopped short of conceding defeat, saying that the election could result in another deadlock.
— CIJA (@CIJAinfo) March 2, 2020
By Tuesday morning, with some 90 percent of the votes counted, Netanyahu’s Likud party seemed to be ahead with 36 seats. His coalition, made of right-wing and religious parties, appeared to control 59 seats in Israel’s 120-member parliament, two short of a ruling majority.
Partial results showed that Gantz’s Blue and White Party took 32 seats.
Blue and White’s leader Gantz admitted “disappointment” with the result, but he stressed that regardless of the final tally Netanyahu is still due to go on trial on March 17, after being charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Early results indicate big Netanyahu victory!https://t.co/ZvC8WjdAQK
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) March 2, 2020
“In two weeks, he will be in court,” Gantz said.
Avigdor Lieberman, who leads the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, once again could be a potential kingmaker, with neither Netanyahu nor Gantz able to secure a parliamentary majority without his support.
In fact, while Netanyahu will likely be tapped by President Reuven Rivlin to form a government, he has no immediate path to a 61-seat majority.
(Palestine Chronicle, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)