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  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by supporters of his Likud party.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by supporters of his Likud party. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 April 2019
Opinion

With more than 99 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party will likely muster enough support to control the majority of the Knesset’s 120 seats.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured a clear and comfortable path to re-election on Wednesday, as right-wing parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority.

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With more than 99 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party will likely muster enough support to control the majority of the Knesset’s 120 seats, leading Netanyahu to head the next coalition government. This would mark his fifth term as premier, making him the longest-serving Israeli prime minister, overtaking David Ben-Gurion.

The process now, after results are announced, is that all parties with representation will submit their chosen prime ministerial candidate to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The head of state will assign the job of forming a coalition to a party leader he believes has the best chance of forming a coalition.

The candidate doesn’t have to be from the party that gained the most number of seats. It depends on the most likely person able to form a coalition. The nominee has up to 42 days to form a government before the president asks another politician to try. Netanyahu is expected to obtain the appointment. 

In a televised statement, Yair Lapid, number two in the centrist Blue and White party led by former army chief Benny Gantz, conceded defeat saying that even though they “didn’t win in this round. We will make Likud’s life hell in the opposition.” Meanwhile, Netanyahu told his supporters that “it is a night of colossal victory,” in a late-night speech at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv after Tuesday’s vote. 

 

His party, Likud, gained four more seats compared to his outgoing coalition government, according to a spreadsheet published by the Central Elections Committee. Nevertheless, obtained the same amount of seats as his challenger, yet with the number of right-wing and religious parties’ seats will back Likud to form a majority coalition. 

This win is mostly based off of Trump’s popularity among Israelis, after unilaterally declaring Jerusalem the country’s capital and supporting the illegal annexation of Golan Heights, a discourse that was used during the campaign. Also, the fact that Netanyahu pledged to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected. 

This growing anti-Arab sentiment and boycott to a recently passed nation-state racist law resulted in a historic low voter turn-out for Palestinian citizens in Israel. So as far as Israeli Palestinian citizens and Palestine concern, the reelection will not change anything and likely worsen the current situation. 

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