Bennett Takes 'Full Responsibility' for Party's Failure to Enter Knesset After Final Election Results

A final recount has failed to substantiate Hayamin Hehadash's claim of vote-counting irregularities in last week's election ■ Bennett: 'I, and I alone, am responsible for the result'

Hayamin Hehadash leader Naftali Bennett

Hayamin Hehadash Chairman Naftali Bennett said following the release of the final election results Tuesday that he takes full responsibility for his party failing to pass the electoral threshold.

"I can't complain about anyone. I, and I alone, am responsible for the result. I did my best, and this time it wasn't enough," Bennett said.

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A final recount has failed to substantiate Bennett's party's claim of vote-counting irregularities in last week's election, with the Central Elections Committee announcing on Tuesday that it had actually mistakenly awarded the party three votes too many in the original count.

In the final count, the right-wing party fell short of the minimum required for Knesset representation by 1,462 votes. The law requires that parties receive a minimum of 3.25 percent of the vote to be awarded seats in the Knesset. In last week’s election, that translated into a minimum of just over 140,000 votes.

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Bennett had provided the Elections Committee with a list of dozens of polling places around the country that he asked to have reexamined, claiming that major errors had been made in counting the votes there and that it had cost the party a large number of votes.

The Central Elections Committee said it assigned a large staff to reexamine the voting slips at the polling places where Hayamin Hehadash alleged that there were problems, but ultimately found no notable mistakes other than the three votes that were attributed to the party in error.

For its part, Hayamin Hehadash maintains that there were discrepancies in the count at eight percent of polling stations, including serious fraud at some locations. The party said it will continue to clarify the situation and then decide what further steps to take.

The party said the committee’s statement was released too hastily and that, in an examination that the party conducted together with the Central Elections Committee, “serious and unambiguous findings of serious election fraud were found.”

The elections committee is expected to release its complete final vote tally on Wednesday.