Tel Aviv (Israel) / Israel’s acting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Monday’s elections as a “great victory,” even as his centrist rival Beny Gantz asked to wait for the final results to see if a parliamentary majority could be formed.
“It was a great victory for the right-wing block and for the Likud,” right-wing leader Netanyahu said of the third Israeli election in a year.
“I remember our first victory in 1996, it was a historic victory. But this victory is sweeter and bigger, because it is a victory against all odds,” he added at the polling station in front of hundreds of supporters shouting “We love you.”
Those gathered at the polling station shouted against Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who will see Netanyahu in the dock in two weeks on corruption charges, and also against the possibility of a unity government with Gantz’ Blue and White alliance.
“Earlier I talked with all the leaders of the right-wing factions. Tomorrow we will begin with the formation of a strong and stable government, a national government that is good for Israel,” Netanyahu said, adding that meetings will begin as early as Tuesday. Results are expected overnight Monday
Although a slow vote-count had only just begun, the Likud leader said he was confident that the exit polls would be accurate, giving him four to five more seats than in the 32 gained in the September elections.
The exit polls predicted that, although he would overtake Gantz, Netanyahu is unlikely to reach the 61 seats out of 120 he needs in parliament to form a coalition government with his traditional partners, the far-right (Yamina, 7 seats) and ultra-Orthodox parties (SHAS and United Torah Judaism, about 9 and 7).
Gantz admitted feeling “grief and disappointment” but asked to wait “for the final results because they could end up being no different from those in April,” when Netanyahu won the elections by a landslide but later failed to form a government, which triggered the political blockade that has been ongoing since.
“This is not what we wanted to happen. If these are the results, it is not what will lead Israel to the right path,” he said at the party’s empty election headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Gantz would hold on to his 33 seats from September but is far from being able to form an executive with the left-wing parties (Labor-Gesher-Meretz) and the external support of the United Arab List (14), which represents the Arab population.
Once the official vote count has been completed, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will select a candidate for prime minister who will then have six weeks to try to form a government, and usually that task is accorded to the head of the largest party.
However, Rivlin may face the unprecedented issue of whether or not to appoint a person – in this case Netanyahu – who has been accused of a serious crime to carry out the task, and that is a matter that the country’s Supreme Court may have to rule upon.
Netanyahu is fighting for his political life, having been charged last November in three separate cases with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing and called the cases against him a “witch hunt,” but he is scheduled to go on trial on March 17.
If the person selected by Rivlin cannot form a government, the president will select another candidate, who will have 28 days to form a different coalition, but if that effort also fails a new election will have to be held to try and reshuffle the political deck to create some kind of political majority. (March 3, 2020, EFE/PracticaEspañol)
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Netanyahu lograría la mayoría absoluta, según los últimos datos del recuento.
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Netanyahu obtendría dos escaños menos que el partido de Gantz.
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Netanyahu afirmó que no gobernará con los ultrarreligiosos.
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el Likud perdería más de 30 escaños en estos comicios.
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