The Central Elections Committee published Thursday night the final results of the Israeli election, ending two tense days of specualtion as to the makeup of the 21st Knesset.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has 36 seats in the next Knesset, after initially tying at 35 with Kahol Lavan, the political alliance led by former Israeli army chief of staff Benny Gantz.
Despite hopes of edging past the electoral threshold with the soldiers' vote, and after an earlier announcement that it did, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked's Hayamin Hehadash party remained out of the Knesset.
The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism lost one seat, compared with preliminary results, giving it seven out of 120 Knesset seats. All other parties' results remained unchanged.
Nearly nine percent of all eligible votes - 366,049 - went to parties that didn't make it past the electoral threshold. Hayamin Hehadash, for example, was 1,462 votes beneath it.
The final results are as follows:
- Which world leaders rushed to congratulate Netanyahu on Israeli election win?
- Gantz, the former general, will have trouble commanding his political soldiers
- After Netanyahu's reelection, the challenge ahead will be no picnic
Likud - 36
Kahol Lavan - 35
Shas - 8
United Torah Judaism - 7
Hadash-Ta'al - 6
Labor - 6
Yisrael Beiteinu - 5
Union of Right-Wing Parties - 5
Meretz - 4
Balad-United Arab List - 4
Kulanu - 4
Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Hanan Melcer said that while the results published Thursday night went through a highly scrutinized inspection process, they are not the final results that will be published next Wednesday.
United Torah Judaism and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Hayamin Hehadash party asked the committee not to publish the results as voting irregularities were still being examined.
Melcer said he rejected their petitions since "it was clear these are 'temporary' results, subject to change."
He insisted the results were accurate, and are the ones which will be presented to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The justice also stressed that security officials assured him the committees' computers were not subjected to cyberattacks.
Earlier on Thursday, the committee stated that a minor computer malfunction led to a delay in the publication of the final election results.
Turnout in the Arab community was one of the lowest in history. Netanyahu's Likud party provided activists with 1,200 hidden cameras "to monitor" Arab polling stations — a move that prompted Israel's Central Elections Committee to file a police complaint.
Adalah ,the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, also urged Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and Israel Police to launch a criminal investigation into the matter
The hidden cameras "harmed the basic principles of the election process ... which state that elections would be free and secret," attorney Sawsan Zaher said. Earlier Wednesday, Hadash-Ta'al lawmaker Aida Youma-Sliman and Meretz MK Michal Rozin also charged Mendelblit to open a probe.