Bibi Falls Short of Majority

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Yesterday, the people of Israel took to the voting booths for the second time this year and the results are in. Ynet News reports that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the opposing Blue and White party led by retired IDF General Benny Gantz both received the same amount of seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, though neither won a majority. So the next step will be for Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to choose one of the candidates to form a stable coalition government:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell short of securing a parliamentary majority with his natural religious and nationalist allies in national elections Tuesday, partial results indicated, setting the stage for a period of coalition negotiations that could threaten his political future and even clear the way for him to be tried on corruption charges.

Initial partial results showed challenger Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party tied with Netanyahu’s Likud.

While the results do not guarantee that Gantz will be the next prime minister, they signaled that Netanyahu, who has led the country for over 10 years, could have trouble holding on to the job.

Addressing his supporters early Wednesday, Netanyahu refused to concede defeat and vowed to work to form a new government that excludes Arab parties.

His campaign focused heavily on attacking and questioning the loyalty of the country’s Arab minority — a strategy that drew accusations of racism and incitement from Arab leaders.

“In the coming days we will convene negotiations to assemble a strong Zionist government and to prevent a dangerous anti-Zionist government,” he said. He claimed that Arab parties “negate the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” and “glorify bloodthirsty murderers.”

Final results are expected Wednesday and could still swing in Netanyahu’s favor.

According to the partial results, the parties of Gantz and Netanyahu received 32 seats each in the 120-member parliament…

Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu Benny Gantz Elections Israel politics Ynet News

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