Final Election Results: Netanyahu Bloc Short of Majority With 58 Seats

Lieberman to back Gantz for PM, aides say ■ Left-wing leaders says Gantz 'acting like he lost' ■ Netanyahu says Gantz is 'linking up with terrorists' supporters,' alluding at possible union with Arab alliance Joint List

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Netanyahu and Shas Chairman Arye Dery at the Knesset, Jerusalem, March 4, 2020
Netanyahu and Shas Chairman Arye Dery at the Knesset, Jerusalem, March 4, 2020 Credit: Emil Salman

With all votes counted, Israel's election results indicate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud is the largest party – but the right-wing bloc has failed to secure a 61-seat majority to form a government. Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party trails behind the Likud by several seats.

The Joint List alliance of Arab parties cemented an unprecedented showing, not only remaining Israel's third-largest party but gaining more strength.

Bibi limps to election 'victory.' But he didn't winCredit: Haaretz Weekly Podcast

>> Read more: Likud threatens Gantz ally with embarrassing tapes if she doesn't defectCenter-left doomed by Netanyahu’s killer campaign – and its own crippling complacencyElection is over - what happens now? Key dates to followGantz's party members preparing for defections, don't rule out splitting upView live results and build your own coalition


6:05 P.M. Final election results: Right-wing bloc remains at 58 seats, marking no end in sight for political deadlock

The Central Election Committee released Thursday the final, but not yet official, results of Israel's March 2 election, which show no change in the bloc map, as the center-left retained its 55 seats.

Likud remains at 36 seats, as does Kahol Lavan with 33 and the Joint List with 15.

6:01 P.M. Senior Gantz party member supports forming minority gov't with Arab party

Moshe Ya'alon, who is no. 3 on Kahol Lavan, made a significant shift in his stance in regards to forming a minority government with 12 Joint List lawmakers, excluding the three members of the Balad faction, according to sources from within the party.

The question that remains is whether the two other members of Ya'alon's faction within Kahol Lavan, Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser – who are both former Netanyahu staffers and considered the right-wing marker of the alliance – would align with such a move.

In the past, both men vehemently rejected relying on Arab Israeli lawmakers. In the previous round of election, Gantz was even quoted as saying: Because of Zvika and Hendel I'm not prime minister.

4:59 P.M. Lieberman to recommend Gantz to form next government

Avigdor Lieberman will recommend that Benny Gantz form the next government when parties elected meet this week with President Reuven Rivlin for consultations, people close to the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman said.

The party, which won seven seats in the latest election, did not recommend anyone in the previous election, with Lieberman insisting that Netanyahu and Gantz come to an agreement for a unity government.

The candidate with the most Knesset members recommending them usually gets the first chance to form a coalition. If Gantz gets a chance to form a coalition before Netanyahu, it could increase the chances that the anti-Netanyahu bloc will be able to pass a bill barring an indicted individual from forming a government – which would apply to Netanyahu, indicted in three corruption cases.

Election 3.0: Meet the Generation That Holds the Key to Israel's Future - CLICK ON THE ANIMATION

12:35 P.M. Lieberman's party backs bill to block indicted Netanyahu from forming government

Yisrael Beiteinu, the party led by Avigdor Lieberman, says it will back a bill planned by Kahol Lavan to bar someone indicted for a crime to be tasked with forming a coalition. This would block Netanayahu, indicted in three corruption cases, from having a chance to form a coalition.

11:00 A.M. Joint List chairman: We're waiting for Gantz to change his positions

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh tells the Kan public broadcaster that the slate will not recommend either Netanyahu or Gantz to form the coalition, but will consider recommending Gantz if he changes some of his positions. "With Benny Gantz's attitude, one of a Jewish majority and unilateral annexation – there's no one to recommend," he says, adding that the slate will recommend Odeh himself. "If there is a change truly in the direction of peace and equality, we will examine this position."

9:55 A.M. Labor-Gesher-Meretz slams Gantz: 'He's acting like he lost'

Officials from the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance have strongly criticized Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz, saying he has not approached them to begin talks toward creating a bloc to support a coalition led by him. "According to the results, the anti-Bibi bloc hs more supporters, but Gantz has done nothing – just nothing – to put this bloc on its feet," says one senior official. "Kahol Lavan was too early in adopting Likud's line that Netanyahu was the victor in the election," says another official.

9:50 P.M. With 99.99 precent of votes counted, no change in distribution of seats

There has been no change in the distribution of Knesset seats after 99.99 percent of the votes have been vounted, the Elections Committee says. This keeps the bloc of parties loyal to Netanyahu at 58 seats.

7:30 P.M. Netanyahu: I chose not to take step that could have given us victory

Prime Minister Netanyahu says at a meeting with right-wing parties that on the eve of the election, he received a proposal "to take a step that I think would have set the entire Middle East ablaze. It's very possible that it would have given us the win, and I refused to do it."

6:00 P.M. Netanyahu accuses Gantz of 'undermining the foundations of democracy'

Making a televised address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the most recent tally of the vote in the third Israeli election and blasted his chief rival Benny Gantz. "The move Gantz is leading undermines the foundations of democracy," he said, alluding to a potential linkup between the former army chief's Kahol Lavan party and the Arab alliance Joint List. "He is trying to cancel out what the people determined," he continued, added that he and his party members have "repeatedly warned that Gantz is linking up with terror supporters."

He claimed victory among "Zionist" voters as "the Arabs are not part of this equation, and this is the people's will." The Arab alliance Joint List is not really part of the left-wing bloc, Netanyahu added, saying that it only includes 47 seats.

"Gantz lied to his voters and is trying to steal this election," the premier charged. He was referring to reports earlier Wednesday that Kahol Lavan were in contact with other center and left-wing parties to try and promote a law that would make it illegal for him to attempt to build a government under indictment.

In response, Gantz tweeted: "Bibi, drink a glass of water, wait for the final results and promise to respect them."


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