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Whoever thought that the announcement of the final election results would put an end to the bickering over which party emerged the winner - and which should form the next governing coalition - was mistaken.

After tallying the ballots cast by soldiers, the physically challenged, and diplomats from abroad, the central election committee confirmed that the apportionment of Knesset seats would remain as was announced on election night.

"Tonight the campaign led by Bibi (nickname of Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu) and the wheeler-dealers of the Likud aimed at stealing power and the will of the voter in Israel must come to an end," read a statement released by Kadima minutes after the official results were announced.

Kadima repeated its call for Netanyahu to join a national unity government with Tzipi Livni serving as prime minister. "With the completion of the vote count Kadima won and it is the largest party," the party statement read. "Netanyahu must accede to Tzipi Livni's call and join a centrist national unity government headed by her."

Likud officials responded to Kadima's statement with scorn. "Kadima's statement is pathetic and shows that it continues to spin some imagined reality instead of recognizing a political reality in accordance with the voter's verdict," a Likud communiqué read. "An absolute majority of Israelis wants Netanyahu as prime minister and clearly rejected Kadima's way which has failed."