Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid congratulates Benjamin Netanyahu on election victory


Jerusalem
CNN

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke to Benjamin Netanyahu by phone to congratulate him on his victory in Israel’s election, the prime minister’s office said Thursday, just 48 hours after polls closed.

With nearly all votes counted, the latest projections show former prime minister Netanyahu and his allies will win 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Lapid and his allies are expected to win 51, and the Arab Hadash/Taal party, which does not support either leader, is expected to win five.

Israel’s Central Election Commission announced the final distribution of seats in the 25th Knesset late Thursday, giving Netanyahu and his political allies 64 seats in the legislature, enough to form a ruling majority.

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President Isaac Herzog said on Wednesday that he would begin consultations with politicians on forming a new government after the official confirmation of the results on November 9.

Netanyahu’s return to the head of government will bring fundamental changes to Israeli society. A Jewish nationalist Religious Zionism/Jewish Power coalition led by Itamar Ben Gvir, who was once convicted of inciting racism and supporting terrorism, is sure to emerge in Netanyahu’s government.

Asked by CNN on Tuesday if he feared he would lead a far-right government if he returned to office, Netanyahu specifically mentioned the Raam party, which made history last year by joining an Arab party for the first time in history. Israeli government coalition.

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“We don’t want a government with the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports terrorism, denies the existence of Israel, and is very hostile to the United States. That’s what we’re going to bring,” Netanyahu told CNN in English at his polling station in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu’s allies have talked about reforming the judicial system. This could end the corruption trial in which Netanyahu has pleaded not guilty.

Netanyahu himself has become one of the key issues in Tuesday’s election, as well as in the four previous elections, with voters and politicians divided over whether they want the man known as Bibi in power.

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Part of the difficulty in forming a stable government in the past four elections has been that even political parties that agree with Netanyahu have refused to work with him for personal or political reasons.

The election was held with the highest turnout since 2015. According to the Central Election Commission, 71.3 percent of voting-age citizens cast their ballots, which is more than any of the last four elections that ended in a stalemate or a short-term government.

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