The final results confirm political closure after the election

The results of Thursday’s final election showed Israel was in political turmoil again, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his opponents falling short of a ruling majority.

Tuesday’s vote, Israel’s fourth parliamentary election in two years, was widely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu’s suitability for rule while on trial for corruption. He put Israel’s highly successful vaccination campaign at the heart of his campaign but was criticized for his earlier mistakes in the pandemic and for refusing to resign. after his dismissal.

The Israeli election commission, with 100% of the votes counted, said Netanyahu’s southern Likud party and its natural allies have won 52 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament. A thoughtfully diverse range of parties won 57 seats.

A party on the right led by Netanyahu ally Naftali Bennett won seven seats and an Arab Islamic party led by Mansour Abbas won four. Both are unrelated, but with so much conflict in parliament, it is unclear whether one can deliver a necessary majority.

Party leaders have already begun talks and are expected to drag on for weeks. If a person cannot muster a majority of at least 61 seats, Israel will go to elections for the fifth unprecedented turn in just over two years.

Deep segregation between the various parties makes it difficult for both sides to gather a governing coalition. Israelis vote for party lists rather than candidates in a system that often gives outside power to small, sectarian groups.

Arab parties have never entered a governing coalition, and for nationalist parties, such an alliance is a disgrace. Bezalel Smotrich, a Netanyahu ally and leader of the far-reaching Zionist Religious party, said Thursday that “a southern government will not be established with the support of Abbas.” Not on my watch. “

Gideon Saar, a defender from Likud Netanyahu who now leads the abolition of a six-seat party, said, “it is clear that Netanyahu does not have a majority to form a government under his leadership. Steps must now be taken to enable a government to be formed for change. “

The Likud, who won the majority of any party seats, was fired back, saying such a block would be “anti-democratic.” He compared Netanyahu’s opponents to the clerical leadership in Israel’s enemy-Iran, which scrutinizes candidates for senior positions.

Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israeli Institute for Democracy, said the stalemate is “the worst political crisis in Israel in decades.”

“It is clear that our political system is struggling to achieve a convincing outcome,” said Plesner, adding that inherent weaknesses in Israel’s electoral system are exacerbated by “the factor Netanyahu”: A great prime minister who is struggling to stay in power while he is accused. ”The Israelis are divided down the middle of this issue. “

A number of Netanyahu opponents have begun considering the promotion of a bill to disqualify an accused politician from being in charge of forming a government, a move aimed at preventing the prime minister from it has been there for a long time. A similar bill was launched after the March 2020 elections, but was never passed.

Netanyahu has been tried for fraud, breach of trust and acceptance of bribes in three cases. He has denied any wrongdoing and has denied the allegations as a witch hunt by bias law enforcement and the media.

Despite allegations against him, Lanyud Netanyahu’s party received about a quarter of the vote, making him the largest party in parliament. 13 parties received enough votes to join the Knesset – mostly since the 2003 election – and represent a mix of ultra-rectangular, Arab, secular, nationalist and liberal groups.