Tabulating March 2 election results took time to include absentee ballots.
Results suggest another impasse. Is a fourth election coming later this year, or will Netanyahu or lead challenger Gantz manage to cobble together enough coalition support to resolve things?
Final results were as follows:
Netanyahu’s Likud: 36 Knesset seats (1,349,171 votes for its party members)
Gantz’s Blue and White: 33 seats (support from 1,217, 101 voters)
Joint (Arab) List: 15 seats, a historic high (577,335 votes for its members)
Shas: 9 seats (352,443 votes)
Torah Judaism: 7 seats (273,900 votes)
Labor-Gesher-Meretz: 7 seats (267,362 votes)
Yisrael Beiteinu: 7 seats (262,840 votes)
Yamina: 6 seats (240,162 votes)
A minimum 61-Knesset seat coalition majority is required to form a new government.
Can Gantz manage it to end Netanyahu’s reign of terror? Will judicial proceedings against him beginning on March 17 end his political career and personal freedom?
On Saturday, Gantz claimed a 62-seat majority, vowing to “end Netanyahu’s rule,” adding:
“I will do anything in my power to prevent a fourth election.” The campaign in the run-up to last Monday’s election “crushed all the norms that are common between a man and his friend and between a citizen and his leaders.”
Netanyahu resorted to tactics he’s infamous for, accusing Gantz and parties supporting him of “trying to steal the election.”
Blue and White party proposed legislation aims to prevent “formation of a government (by) a member of the Knesset who is under indictment on which the court has not ruled by that time.”
It’s unlikely that there’s majority Knesset support to pass it. Pushing it through would also require Blue and White to gain control of the Knesset committee responsible for getting legislation through multiple readings before becoming law.
Likud’s Knesset control with Netanyahu still prime minister could likely block it as things now stand.
On Saturday, Lieberman-led Yisrael Beiteinu tweeted: Netanyahu “is hysterical, begging for his life…Even (he) understands his time is over.”
Falsely claiming he won reelection, telling supporters “I’m not going anywhere,” he’s three seats short of forming a ruling coalition.
On Sunday, Israel’s Central Elections Committee director general Orly Adas said there’s “no chance in the world” that announced final results will change.
Desperate to retain power that’s slipping away, Netanyahu is grasping at straws.
He ran out of rabbits, Haaretz reported, adding: “Lieberman can finish him off” by allying with Gantz in forming a new coalition government.
On Friday, Likud said it’ll petition Israel’s High Court to review the vote count, an act of desperation, a statement saying it wants to correct “errors in the recording and writing up of results,” providing no evidence of irregularities, adding:
The party “takes very seriously any procrastination in the ballot protocols and the counting of votes. In spite of repeated inquiries, we have been given numerous and unacceptable excuses.”
“The checking of the count sheets of all polling stations and the correction of errors must be done before the election results are formally published.”
The Central Elections Committee dismissed allegations of political involvement in vote counting, saying:
“The Central Election Commission rejects all attempts by Likud factions to repudiate the professional and dedicated work of the committee’s employees and to undermine its credibility.”
“Needless to say, Likud representatives attended almost all the polls, and signed the results themselves.”
Israel’s Supreme Court is likely to reject Likud’s petition because a recount of votes is highly unlikely to change the outcome.
Are Netanyahu’s days in office numbered? Can Gantz form a ruling coalition to replace him as prime minister?
Will charges against him stick? Will he be convicted in upcoming judicial proceedings that could take months, putting him behind bars where he belongs?