Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comeback looks almost certain as his Likud maintains a lead with 84.3% of the votes counted (as of 10am local time).
More than 4,081,243 votes have been counted by Israel’s Central Elections Committee and it is being projected by Israeli news media outlets that Netanyahu’s bloc would pick up 65 seats. The number could change as more ballots are counted but the former prime minister who faces corruption trials still remains in pole position.
Three parties, the left-wing Meretz, Balad and Hadash-Ta’al can affect the Netanyahu bloc’s chances if they cross the electoral threshold. A party needs to win 3.25% of the vote at least to ensure Knesset representation, the Israeli parliament.
The Islamist Ra’am party has crossed that threshold with at 4.35%. These four parties, if they agree to form a coalition with incumbent Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, could thwart Netanyahu’s chances.
Yesh Atid has won 24 seats after 84.3% of the votes counted.
The United Arab List also crossed the electoral threshold.
Major gains were made by right-wing parties like Religious Zionism and Shas. The Religious Zionism Party is a merger between Bezalel Smotrich’s National Union party and Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party which has called for deportation of Israeli Arab citizens.
The far-right politician’s outfit is now the third-largest in the Knesset.
An analysis of the election results by Israel’s Haaretz said that the message from the Jewish Israeli population to the Arab Israelis is clear, that there is no place for an Arab party within the governing coalition.
The analysis also points out that the results show that the democratic camp is facing a decline. It further adds that Balad and Hadash-Ta’al could face political uncertainty and also could be forced to exit the Israeli political scenario completely if the Knesset sees the rise of a far-right government.
Hadash-Ta’al claims to be the biggest party in the Arab community but with mere four seats it faces serious challenges.
Meanwhile the National Unity and Shas have won 12 seats each and the United Torah Judaism have won 8 seats. Yisrael Beitenu, United Arab List and Hadash-Ta’al have won five seats each and the Labour Party won four seats.
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