Final results in Israel’s elections show political deadlock

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE 

JERUSALEM – Final results of Israel’s elections showed on Thursday another stalemate, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (picture) and his opponents both fall short of a majority to form a government, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Central Elections Committee, which oversees the elections, said in a statement that Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and its allies won 52 seats in the 120-seat parliament. Opponents of the longtime leader won 57 seats.

The Likud won 30 seats, down from 36 in the previous elections. The centrist party of Yesh Atid, led by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, won 17 seats, becoming the second-largest party.

But in the Israeli system, the government is formed by the candidate who manages to put together a majority coalition of at least 61 seats.

Netanyahu has secured three supporter parties, which won six, seven and nine seats, respectively. He also hopes to win the support of his former ally, Naftali Bennett, leader of Yamina, a pro-settler party that won seven seats.

Ra’am, an Islamist party, won four seats, becoming the balance of power between a Netanyahu-led coalition or a government led by his opponents.

Ra’am party leader Mansur Abbas said on Wednesday that he doesn’t rule out sitting in any coalition.

Before the elections, Netanyahu, who has traditionally refused to include Arab parties in his coalition, said he will not rule out a coalition with Ra’am.

Blue and White, a centrist party and Netanyahu’s partner in his current power-sharing government, won eight seats. New Hope, a right-wing party formed recently by former allies of Netanyahu, won six seats.

Tuesday’s parliamentary elections marked the fourth time Israelis cast their ballots over the past two years following a series of indecisive results and prolonged political deadlock.

Netanyahu is struggling for his political survival while facing a criminal trial over corruption charges in three separate cases.