New York Times Declares 'Setback' for Netanyahu as He Wins Israeli Election

New York Times Declares 'Setback' for Netanyahu as He Wins Israeli Election

Blue and White, led by former military chief of staff Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, a former Netanyahu Cabinet minister, got about 26% of the vote - a shade less than Netanyahu's Likud.

The results showed that Likud won 35 seats, right-wing United Torah Judaism grabbed eight seats, five for Yisrael Beiteinu, four for Kulanu party, eight for Shas party and five for the Union of Right-Wing Parties. Depending to which parties the rest of the votes land, Gantz may still have a shot to have enough seats to form a left-wing coalition. But Netanyahu was in a stronger position to form a coalition government with the anticipated support of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, Likud's natural allies.

At the sessions - which will be broadcast live - Mr Rivlin will pick a party leader to try to form a coalition, giving the candidate 28 days to do so, with a two-week extension if needed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures after he speaks following the announcement of exit polls in Israel's parliamentary election at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel April 10, 2019. Gantz has been the toughest challenger to his consecutive ten-year-long ruling.

During a tight and ugly election campaign Mr Netanyahu accused Mr Gantz of conspiring with Arab parties to topple him, leading to suggestiong that the leader was demonizing the country's Arab community.

"It is a night of colossal victory", Netanyahu said, thanking his supporters, the members of his party and his wife, Sarah, who he kissed before and after the speech and who never left his side.

Mr Trump predicted a boost to his administration's promised plan for a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US President Donald Trump said Netanyahu's re-election was a "good sign for peace".

Gantz says his party has "founded a true alternative rule to Netanyahu".


This pre-election promise from Netanyahu was widely seen as an attempt to draw right-wing votes rather than a change of policy.

"I'd like to congratulate" Netanyahu, said Trump, after almost complete results put the incumbent premier in position to form a coalition and extend his long tenure.

In the end his Likud party far out-performed expectations and is projected to have won around 35 seats, like Gantz.

If Mr Netanyahu is re-elected he would be the nation's longest-serving prime minister.

- Hadash, headed by Ayman Odeh, is a secular Arab-led party with communist roots that ran with Ahmed Tibi's Taal.

A whole list of smaller political parties - each failing to gain more than 5,000 votes - also added to the overall number of ballots considered wasted.

Israeli Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit had already served notice that he plans to indict Netanyahu on multiple counts of bribery and fraud. Anti-Semitism has been a highly debated topic in recent months following critical comments from freshman Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) about an Israeli organization called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its influence on American politics.

The latest results indicate that Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked's the New Right party has received some 127,000 votes, putting them some 4,300 votes (and 0.11%) below the 3.25% threshold and making them the only party with a chance to still enter the 21st Knesset.

The last round of US -brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014.

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