According to the near-final results of Tuesday’s general election in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a narrow but decisive victory. Netanyahu’s Likud party and former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party have tied for first place in the voting, but the right-wing bloc that will likely recommend Netanyahu as prime minister remains comfortably larger.
According to Israeli news site Walla, with 97 percent of the vote counted, Likud and Blue and White both received 35 Knesset seats. However, the right-religious bloc that has supported Netanyahu in previous governments controls 65 seats, while the center-left that would support Gantz has only 55.
As a result, it will almost unquestionably be Netanyahu who is called upon by President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government.
Further results showed the religious parties Shas and Yahadut HaTorah receiving eight seats apiece. The center-left Labor party and Arab party Hadash-Ta’al received six seats respectively. Center-right Yisrael Beiteinu and religious-right Union of Right-Wing Parties won five seats each. Four seats apiece went to left-wing Meretz, centrist Kulanu, and Arab party Ra’am-Balad.
The results come after a tense night in which exit polls showed uncertain results. One indicated a Blue and White victory, while two others showed a tie and an advantage for the right-wing bloc, which appears to have been accurate.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz declared victory overnight before the final results came in.