With 99% of votes counted, far-left party knocked out of Knesset for the first time

As special ballots were counted, far-left Meretz party did not meet the electoral thresh for the first time since its formation 30 years ago, and a right-wing, Likud-led government will likely be formed.

By World Israel News Staff

The far-left Meretz party continued to poll under the minimum threshold, as Israeli election officials counted special ballots from the country’s general election, held on Tuesday.

To secure Knesset representation, a party list must receive at least 3.25% of all valid ballots.

This development marks the first time since the party’s formation in 1992 that it has failed to win any representation in the Knesset.

MKs from Meretz, a part of the so-called change bloc headed led by Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his predecessor, Naftali Bennet, sparked controversy in the last year due to a number of public comments.

MK Yair Golan referred to settlers as “subhuman” and compared them to Nazis. He also publicly berated a high school student who suggested that Israel’s anti-terror policies are too lax, calling him “a threat to society.”

Arab-Israeli MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, whose resignation from the government brought down the Bennett-Lapid coalition, made multiple comments to the media suggesting that she does not identify with the State of Israel, including that she does not know the words to Israel’s national anthem.

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According to the latest vote count, the Likud is projected to receive 32 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 24, the Religious Zionist Party with 15 (up from 14), National Unity with 12, Shas with 11, United Torah Judaism with 8, Yisrael Beytenu with 6 (up from 5), the United Arab List (Ra’am) with 5, Hadash-Ta’al with 5 (but will likely go down to 4), and Labor with 4.

The Arab nationalist party Balad, which consistently polled below the 3.25% electoral threshold, has received 2.96% of the votes counted thus far, and is unlikely to clear the threshold.

The Jewish Home party of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, which also polled under the electoral threshold prior to election day, received 1.18% of all valid votes counted thus far.