Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be able to form a government, according to preliminary results from 97% of the regular polling stations reported by the Central Elections Committee unless he gains support from the Arab-Islamist Ra’am Party.
Netanyahu’s bloc of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Religious Party was found to have won 59 seats along with Yamina, two short of a majority. Ra’am’s leader Mansour Abbas has collaborated in the past with Netanyahu and pro-Likud advocates are already working to legitimize the formation of a coalition with Arab support in the media.
Abbas has justified working with Netanyahu and other Zionist parties if he can, in exchange, gain benefits for the Arab community which faces poor infrastructure, a growing murder rate and high unemployment.
According to the preliminary results, Netanyahu’s Likud won 30 seats, Yesh Atid 18, Shas 9, Blue and White 8, United Torah Judaism, Yamina and Labor 7, New Hope, Yisrael Beytenu, the Religious Zionist Party 6 and Meretz 5. After initial indications that the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party had not crossed the 3.25% electoral threshold, current results give it five seats and the Joint List six.
Exit polls were mostly inconclusive throughout the dramatic post-election night. The three channels – 11, 12 and 13 – initially called a victory for Netanyahu’s Likud assuming Bennett, who immediately said he would do what is right for the country, joins the coalition.
Central Elections Committee head Orly Ades said preliminary results of the normal polling stations would be announced later in the day. Only after that, the Central Elections Committee will begin counting some 450,000 double envelopes, which are ballots from hospitals, nursing homes, emissaries, soldiers, prisoners and special polling stations for returnees at Ben-Gurion International Airport and for the sick and quarantined from COVID-19.
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Source: Jerusalem Post