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Israel Election 2021 Results: Netanyahu again falls short of majority

In a surprise development, Raam, an Arab party which is projected to win 05 seats, could hold the balance of power

Wednesday March 24, 2021 6:05 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Israel Election Result

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggled to secure enough seats in Parliament to stay in power, incomplete results of Tuesday's election suggested, even as he claimed victory in the country's fourth elections in two years.

According to the Central Election Commission, the prime minister's right-wing Likud party has won 24.2% of the vote so far and the centrist Yesh Atid party of the main opposition leader, Yair Lapid, is second with 13.9%.

Israeli media reported that the tallies would result in Likud getting 30 seats in the 120-seat Knesset and Yesh Atid 17 whereas right-wing bloc is course to win 59 seats - two short of the threshold, the BBC reported.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties Shas and United Torah Judaism were projected to get 09 and 07 seats respectively, the centrist Blue and White party of Defence Minister Benny Gantz 08, the centre-left Labour party and the nationalist Yamina and Yisrael Beitenu parties 07 each.

Raam could be King Maker

The Joint List alliance of Arab parties, the New Hope party of Netanyahu's former Likud ally Gideon Saar and the far-right Religious Zionism alliance are forecast to win 06 each, and the left-wing Meretz party and Raam 05 apiece.

In a surprise development, Raam, an Arab party which is projected to win 05 seats, could hold the balance of power.

Raam split from the Joint List earlier this year in part because its leader Mansour Abbas said he was open to working with Netanyahu to address the needs of Israel's Arab citizens, who make up about 20% of the population.

Those parties have garnered 56 seats, according to the latest tally, and although backing from Raam could give them a sufficient number to form a government, they are fragmented and unlikely to be able to agree to work together.

"Netanyahu Claims Victory"

On social media, however, Netanyahu is claiming victory. His announcement came within two hours of exit polls on Israel's main three TV channels which indicated no immediate winner in the unprecedented elections amid a prolonged political deadlock.

"A huge victory to the right-wing and the Likud (party) under my leadership," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said his right-wing Likud party is "by far" the largest party in Israel, after the polls suggested it won about 31 seats.

If neither grouping can form a majority coalition, the country could face its fifth general election since April 2019.

Israel's electoral system, a form of proportional representation, makes it almost impossible for a single party to win an election outright.

Based on the latest results, to stay in office, Netanyahu would need to secure the support of both Raam and a small right-wing nationalist party, Yamina.

Like Raam, Yamina's leader, Naftali Bennett, has not announced which side he will throw his weight behind.

"I will do only what is good for the State of Israel," he said after the voting ended on Tuesday night.

He added that he had told Netanyahu that Yamina would await the final results before deciding on its next steps.


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