Polls show that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be unable to secure the seats needed to form a new government in the fourth Israeli elections in two years
The Likud party led by Netanyahu and his allies is expected to win 52 or 53 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, which means that it will not get the absolute majority that enables it to form a government alone.
Other opposition parties may get 60 seats.
This means that the opposition New Right (right) party led by Naftali Bennett, a former friend of Netanyahu, will be influential in forming the government and may preserve Netanyahu’s chances of becoming prime minister if he agrees to an alliance with him.
Bennett’s party is expected to win seven or eight seats, but he has not explicitly announced which side it will support.
“I will only do what is good for the State of Israel,” said Naftali Bennett, in a statement after the polls closed and the polls were announced.
He emphasized that he had told Netanyahu that the New Right would wait for the final results before deciding on its next move.
The Central Election Commission does not expect all votes to be counted before noon on Wednesday due to coronavirus restrictions.
“Citizens of Israel – thank you,” the 71-year-old Netanyahu said in a tweet on Tuesday night. “You gave the right and the Likud party under my leadership a big victory. Likud is the largest party so far.”
He continued, “It is clear that the majority of Israelis are from the right, and they want a strong and stable government from the right.”
Turnout was about 67.2 percent of the total electorate, a low percentage compared to previous elections, but some view it as a referendum on Netanyahu’s leadership of the country. Netanyahu has been in power continuously since 2009, after serving a previous three-year term in Late 1990s.
None of the party leaders were able to form a stable coalition after the previous three general elections.
The current national unity government, which was the result of a power-sharing deal with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, collapsed last December, just seven months after it was formed.
Expectations indicate that Gantz’s party (Blue and White) will win seven seats. “I will do everything I can to unite the political bloc that supports change,” Gantz said on Tuesday, referring to those who do not want Netanyahu to remain.
Netanyahu’s election campaign focused on the campaign to distribute the Corona vaccine and achieve tangible success in the rates of vaccination of citizens against the Covid-19 virus, in addition to emphasizing his diplomatic success in normalizing relations with some Arab countries.
But his opponents from across the political spectrum argue that he should not remain in office while he is on trial for corruption. These accusations, which Netanyahu completely deny.