AzIz director: Benjamin Netanyahu has more chances to form gov't

14 April, 2019, 02:47 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Blue and White party leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz ahead of a press conference in Tel Aviv

Both Netanyahu and Gantz claimed victory after the initial exit surveys that gave Blue and White the most seats. He was hanging on the results reported by two other TV stations showing his bloc had won more seats than the opponent's. Both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gantz's parties won 35 seats each, the Israeli parliament the Knesset reports.

If confirmed, the results would enable Netanyahu to form the upcoming Israeli government. Israel is governed by coalitions of parties, so the total number of the right- and left-wing blocs matter more than the size of the biggest party.

The closely contested race was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Mr Netanyahu's character and record in the face of corruption allegations.

Likud supporters react to the first voting results in the Israeli general elections, at the Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv, on April 9.

He sought to overcome Netanyahu's experience by allying with two other former military chiefs and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid to form his alliance.

(Trump's approval rating previous year stood at 69 percent, a boost fueled at least in part by his decision to move America's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.) The prime minister even approved a billboard in Tel Aviv showing himself shaking hands with the president in order to tout their close relationship.

Netanyahu's office issued a statement Wednesday saying Trump "warmly congratulated" Netanyahu, who thanked the president for his "great support for Israel", including the White House's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Gantz says his party has "founded a true alternative rule to Netanyahu".

Earlier in the night, with fewer of the votes counted, Blue and White still appeared to be ahead by one seat and Gantz projected optimism.

In a press conference outside his home, Bennett said, "All my life, I've given all I could for the sake of this good people".

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With five seats each were Yisrael Beytenu (with 4.15%) and the Union of Right-Wing Parties (3.66%).

A victory would make Mr Netanyahu the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's 71-year history. In many polls, the party was not included at all, which was something perceived by many as a frank provocation. In February, he said that Israel's almost two million Arabs were not true citizens of the country.

"No one meets Netanyahu's calibre in terms of his political power, assertiveness, his self-confidence and courage".

Is Netanyahu still prime minister?

The attorney general has announced he intends to charge Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust pending an upcoming hearing.

His comments were an apparent reference to Netanyahu's recent pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he wins the election.

Khalil al-Hayya said Wednesday that "there is no difference" between the Israeli parties, and pledged that Gaza's militant Hamas rulers would continue seeking to "end the occupation and achieve our national goals".

In showcasing his close ties with Mr Trump during the race, Mr Netanyahu sought to tap into the president's popularity among Israelis, who delighted in his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and the subsequent transfer of the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Whether or not he will follows through, his next government will further tighten Israel's grip on the territories, to prevent any prospects of a viable Palestinian state.

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