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Israel elections : Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz locked in tight race

israel elections

Jerusalem, Sep 18 : Benjamin Netanyahu is in an incredibly tight race after local TV channels projected him trailing his centrist rival Benny Gantz by some seats.Netanyahu at once changed his language and said let’s wait for the all the votes to be counted.

Both Netanyahu and Gantz have vowed they can form a government and therefore the two main parties have started negotiations with the smaller parties over possible coalition arrangements.
According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu’s Likud and centrist challenger Benny Gantz’s Blue and White stood at 32 seats each after counting of 90 per cent of ballots were completed. The elections were held on Tuesday.

Even though the projected results give neither man a majority in the new Parliament.

While delivering a speech,Netanyahu changed his tone neither claiming victory nor conceding defeat, saying that a strong and stable zionst government should be formed and government cannot be supported by Arab Israelis as they are anti-Zionst.Zionist government is committed to Israel as a national state for the Jewish people,”

Addressing his Blue and White party supporters in Tel Aviv, Gantz said that an era of “polarization and antagonism” now lay in the past with “unity and reconciliation” being the way forward.Gantz said contacts with other parties to build what he described as a “broad unity government” had already started.
“I intend to talk to everybody, starting tonight,” he said.

The secular Yisrael Beitenu party won 9 seats, making its leader Avigdor Lieberman the kingmaker in the elections, as predicted earlier in the exit polls.

Netanyahu, 69, called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority after April’s vote.

Joint List, an alliance of mostly Arab Israeli parties, stood at the third place with 12 seats, followed by the ultra-Orthodox Shas with nine seats.

United Torah Judaism has 8, Yamina has 7, Labour-Gesher is at 6 and the Democratic Camp has 5.

Lieberman, 61, on Wednesday said that “the picture is clear… There is only one option and it’s a broad liberal unity government” comprising of Likud, Blue and White and his own Yisrael Beitenu.

Lieberman asserted that he will not join any other coalition.

Gantz, 60, on Wednesday told supporters that his party’s campaign had completed the mission.

Earlier, the exit polls stated that the right-wing bloc led by Netanyahu is projected to win between 55-57 seats, but his main challenger Gantz’s Blue and White party will not reach magical figure of 61 in a 120 -member Knesset (Israeli Parliament.

Netanyahu could potentially be indicted in three corruption cases. If he remains the Prime Minister, then he may be able to pass legislation that would grant him immunity, but if he loses he may have to appear in court and even face time in jail.

In order to form the next government, one party will have to cobble together a coalition that commands 61 out of the 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament. It is usually the leader of the largest party that gets to attempt to form a government within the 42 days allocated.

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