Netanyahu Likely Won Unprecedented Fifth Term as Israeli PM (UPDATED: Gantz Concedes)
Despite both Netanyahu and challenger Gantz claiming victory, it appears that the Prime Minister will form the next Israeli government.
Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have once again won a narrow victory to remain Israel’s prime minister.
According to Israel’s i24 News, with 97% of the vote counted, Netanyahu’s Likud party had garnered 26.28%, which would translate into 35 seats in the next Knesset. The rival Blue and White list, headed by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, came in with 25.97% of the vote, which would also give them 35 seats.
The next two biggest factions would be religious parties — Shas and United Torah Judaism — with eight seats each. The Union of Right Wing Parties appears to have won five seats and Kulanu, the party headed by former Likudnik Moshe Kahlon won four. Given that all of these parties have pledged to support Netanyahu as prime minister during next week’s consultations with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Yisrael Beiteinu, headed by Avigdor Liberman, with five seats, would appear to be a coalition partner for Netanyahu, but Liberman, who resigned last year as defense minister, has not yet pledged to support for Netanyahu.
The New York Times reported:
“I’m very emotional this night,” an ebullient Mr. Netanyahu told a cheering crowd of supporters in Tel Aviv, after kissing his wife, Sara Netanyahu. “It is a night of great victory.”
The Times characterized the vote as “a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu and his decades in public life, including 13 years as prime minister over four terms.”
Rival Benny Gantz also claimed victory and has, so far, refused to concede.
Even winning the election, Netanyahu faces possible indictment on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. In late February, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his intention to indict Netanyahu.
Sometime in the next month or two, Netanyahu and his lawyers are slated to meet with Mandelblit and try to persuade the attorney general not to proceed with the indictment. The process of deciding whether or not to indict Netanyahu could carry into 2020.
If Mandelblit indicts Netanyahu, he “faces the possibility of becoming the country’s first sitting premier to be criminally charged, the Times noted. However, that would not disqualify him from governing.
In the meantime, Netanyahu will start the process of forming his unprecedented fifth government.
UPDATE: Gantz concedes
#BREAKING Israel's Gantz concedes election defeat to Prime Minister Netanyahu pic.twitter.com/26hvwX5z8c
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 10, 2019
[Photo: Fox News / YouTube ]
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Ace of Spades has some very good comments on this – a brief bit.
“…..I’m no expert at all in that nation’s arcane political system but I understand his win has created quite a bit of turmoil with the parties, coalitions and all that goes with them so look for the analyses in the coming days ahead. Also, there are some commenters here at the HQ who are not fans of Bibi’s leadership, particularly when it comes to how he has dealt with the Palestinian menace. I won’t comment on that, but considering how shabbily he and his nation were treated by the previous administration – including actively meddling in a previous election to try to oust Bibi – if the collective head of the Democrat-Left-Media complex is exploding with rage this morning, all I can say is mazel tov, Bibi!”
Some good news: the soldiers’ votes put the New Right over the top, so Ayelet Shaked will be in the next Knesset, and hopefully will keep her current portfolio as Attorney General. (No, Mandelblit is not the AG, no matter how many people mistranslate his position that way. Call him Solicitor General, if you must, but there is nothing in his job description that matches the definition of an AG.)
Bennett will want some job or other too. I don’t care. I’m only sorry Caroline Glick won’t be joining them.
The New Right’s four seats come at the expense of Idan Roll and Yorai Lahav Herzanu of the Motherhood-and-Apple-Pie list, Idit Silman of Bayit Yehudi, and Yitzchak Pindrus of Degel Hatorah. Silman and Pindrus will probably get in under the Norwegian law when their parties’ respective heads get ministries or deputy ministries, but Roll and Herzanu are out.
LGBT publications had been trumpeting the rise in the number of out gay MKs from two to five. Roll and Herzanu were two of those five, so now it’s down to three.
Aaaaand… Serious shenanigans. Observers excluded from the count while the numbers change dramatically. Sounds like what the Dems tried in Florida in 2000, which was only prevented by a riot. This reeks, and Rafi Peretz announcing that he’s cool with it reeks even stronger.
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