September 25, 2023


Benjamin’s party Likud and its far-right allies are projected to receive a clear majority with 65 seats in the 120-member Knesset or Parliament

With nearly 90 per cent of ballots counted in the Israeli general elections, veteran politician Benjamin Netanyahu was poised to be the prime minister once again, according to official data.

Netanyahu’s party Likud and its far-right allies are projected to receive a clear majority with 65 seats in the 120-member Knesset or Parliament.

Likud leader Netanyahu, 73, will with near certainty be Israel’s next prime minister after approximately 90 per cent of the votes counted, the Jerusalem Post newspaper quoted the Central Election Committee’s data.

The Netanyahu coalition will consist of 65 MKs (Members of the Israeli parliament), while the Lapid bloc will consist of 50 and Hadash-Ta’al five.

The results after 88.6 per cent of the vote were: Likud 32, Yesh Atid 24, Religious Zionism Party (RZP) 14, National Unity 12, Shas 11, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) eight, Yisrael Beytenu five, Ra’am five, Hadash-Ta’al five and Labor four, the report said on Wednesday.

The Times of Israel newspaper reported that a Netanyahu-led government would see a sharp drop in women in the coalition. Current results project 9 female MKs in parties that back the former prime minister, with none among the ultra-Orthodox factions.

Based on these results, the likely Netanyahu-led coalition will have nine female MKs six in his Likud party and three from the far-right Religious Zionism, though the figure could end up rising through ministerial appointments.

The exit polls projected that pro-Netanyahu parties may win up to 65 seats. The alliance comprised Netanyahu’s Likud party, far-right religious Zionism/Jewish Power, ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.

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The outcome would mark a stunning comeback for Netanyahu, who is currently on trial in three corruption cases, after a short stint in opposition.

Israelis voted on Tuesday for an unprecedented fifth time in four years to break the political impasse that has paralysed the country.

Israel has been locked in an unprecedented period of political stalemate since 2019, when Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving leader was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

About 6.78 million Israeli citizens were eligible to elect their 25th Knesset. Some 210,720 new voters were able to vote for the first time, accounting for about four to five seats, adding an interesting dimension to the polls.

For many years, Netanyahu appeared to be politically invincible. But he met with a rude jolt after being ousted by an unprecedented coalition of parties whose only common goal was to see him out.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, Netanyahu holds the record of being the longest-serving Prime Minister in the country’s history. Having served in the position earlier between 1996 and 1999, Netanyahu in 2020 surpassed the record held by one of the Jewish state’s founding leaders, David Ben-Gurion.

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