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Netanyahu leads after 4th election in two years

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud grabbed first place in the Israeli parliamentary elections on Tuesday but without guarantee of a majority to form a government, with radical-right leader Naftali Bennett appearing in a position to play “kingmakers” . According to exit polls, Benjamin Netanyahu’s troops will win between 31 and 33 out of 120 seats in the Knesset (Parliament), far ahead of the Yesh Atid (“There is a future”) party of centrist Yair Lapid credited from 16 to 18 seats.

Towards an alliance

Then followed nearly a dozen parties under the bar of ten seats at the end of these legislative elections, the fourth in the country in nearly two years after three votes having placed Benjamin Netanyahu and his former great rival Benny Gantz at the elbow-to -elbow. In this quest for the Grail – a majority of 61 deputies to form a government – Benjamin Netanyahu intends to make an alliance with religious groups and, as a novelty, with the extreme right, while Yaïr Lapid is counting on an agreement with left-wing parties, from the center but also from the right disappointed by the Prime Minister.

Naftali Bennett, the “kingmaker”

Some 6.5 million Israelis were invited to the polls for this fourth episode of an electoral saga that looks like a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu, both tried for “corruption” and the architect of an intense anti-coronavirus vaccination campaign. According to the first projections, neither the block of Benjamin Netanyahu, nor that of Yaïr Lapid, are at this stage able to rally 61 deputies, which turns all eyes on Naftali Bennett, leader of the party of the radical right Yamina, who still hasn’t chosen his side.

Considered the “kingmaker” of this election, Naftali Bennett shares the ideology of Benjamin Netanyahu – the most enduring government leaders in Israel’s history with fifteen years in power – but criticizes his management. “I will only do what is in the best interests of Israel,” Naftali Bennett said Tuesday evening, without revealing his cards further. The Election Commission is expected to announce final results on Friday. The Passover holidays will follow, the Jewish Passover, then President Reuven Rivlin will ask the newly elected to choose a candidate likely to rally a majority of seats to lead the next government.

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