With the final tally counted, no clear winner has emerged.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
The counting is complete and the final tally has been released in Israel’s election. The result remains the same – political deadlock with no clear winner as neither the incumbent nor the opposition have the majority necessary to form a government.
The final count, which includes 428,000 “double envelopes” – those from active duty soldiers, citizens affected by the coronavirus, and other special cases – only affected the estimated count slightly.
Likud, the largest party, remained at 30 Knesset seats after final results were announced. Over 1 million Israelis voted Likud.
Currently, the right-wing bloc has 59 total Knesset seats to the opposition’s 57. The minimum to form a government is 61.
Voter turnout was 67.4%, the lowest since 2009 (64.7%).
Although there are many parties, there are in effect only two sides – Likud led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the opposition, led by Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid. Both will now scramble to obtain a majority.
Within a week of the results, the two parties will attempt to win President Reuven Rivlin‘s approval to form a government. Rivlin will pick the side he feels most likely to succeed.
Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, must be thought of as the favorite, not only for his proven political skills, but because those parties that make up his bloc are politically more attuned than those of his opposition.
The opposition bloc is a hodgepodge of competing interests, including anti-Zionist Arab parties and right-wing anti-Netanyahu parties circling around a large center-Left party.
In the final count, that party, Yesh Atid, lost a mandate to 17. That mandate was picked up by Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu party, now at 8 Knesset seats.
However, the opposition may yet coalesce as it appears determined to oust Netanyahu. It may find a way to bridge the ideological gaps in the short-term in order to remove the man it considers its greatest nemesis.
After the last election, the opposition attempted to pass an anti-Netanyahu bill, which would have prevented a politician facing indictment (Netanyahu faces three) from serving as prime minister. The bill failed but Liberman is already talking of trying again.
“I am committed to doing everything I can to prevent further elections,” Lieberman tweeted on Thursday. “The first stage goes through the bill that will prevent a Knesset member with an indictment from being a candidate for the formation of a government.”