Israeli PM Netanyahu Appears Headed for Fifth Term after Close Race

Israeli PM Netanyahu Appears Headed for Fifth Term after Close Race

Israeli PM Netanyahu Appears Headed for Fifth Term after Close Race

"Should Netanyahu emerge as the leader, I hope the worldwide community will speak out against the far right positions that he expressed during the election such as the annexation of Palestinian occupied territory".

Incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud was on path for victory despite being tied with Blue and White since he would be able to form a coalition government with right-wing and ultra-Orthodox partners.

At the end of it all, almost every right-wing Israeli party declared that they will recommend him to President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main rival conceded defeat Wednesday, promising to wage a robust battle from the opposition after the ruling Likud party and its nationalist allies won a solid majority in parliamentary elections.

Al Jazeera's senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said that based on all three exit polls, it is hard to see how Mr Gantz can form a government without Likud, meaning it's likely Mr Netanyahu will continue a the nation's leader for another term. By morning, Gantz admitted that the odds were not in his favor, but issued a statement to supporters saying that the movement was only at the beginning of its journey.

"This is a night of great victory". Any concession to Palestine would likely bring objections from Mr Netanyahu's far-right coalition allies.

The number of ballots cast for political parties - which are expected not to pass the electoral threshold - will be the highest in history of the Knesset elections and would amount to an equivalent of 10 parliament seats, making hundreds of thousands of votes essentially meaningless. The last time he feared losing an election, he warned of Israeli Arab voters heading to polling stations "in droves"; this time, his party Likud placed hidden cameras in polling stations in Arab communities, their purported concerns about "voting fraud" looking more like voter suppression.

That meant, Zalzberg said, that "even those right-wing voters frustrated with Netanyahu's conduct went with him".

A senior Palestinian official said Tuesday night Israelis had voted to "maintain the status quo", after two of three exit polls similarly predicted a Netanyahu victory.

Spivak noted that, taking into account all that has been stated, it can be said that the results of the Israeli elections are not yet clear, and the intriguing situation in the country will continue for another month and a half, until a government is finally formed. The Blue and White will have to build a big lead to control the Prime Minister in the next government because Likud has a better chance of forming a coalition.

People don't call Benjamin Netanyahu "the magician" for nothing. Legal experts expect at least some charges to be filed, which could set the stage for a short term in office for Netanyahu and another round of elections soon.

Turnout was reportedly lower than usual in the neighborhoods.

U.S. officials have so far only revealed vague outlines of what the plan might propose, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested it could break abruptly with precedent.

An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the outcome of the election raised Palestinian fears about an Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu had campaigned in the election against ex-military chief Benny Gantz.

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