Netanyahu and Likud received majority of votes, confirms support from right to form a coalition; PM: I believe that God and history gave the Jewish people another opportunity to turn their country into a strong nation, and that’s what I’m working for…
Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to form Israel’s new government, his party of Likud winning 35 mandates and confirming support from the right to form a new coalition. The Likud party tied with the opposition in mandates, the left-centrist party under former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and MK Yair Lapid’s Blue and White party, at 35 seats, however, the majority of overall votes went to right-wing parties and to Likud, leaving Prime Minister Netanyahu to form the next coalition government.
The votes were collected on Tuesday night, polls initially claiming that the Blue and White party had won more seats than Likud. Hours later after the votes were counted, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a speech praising the party and thanking Israeli citizens who voted to keep Netanyahu as Israel’s longest-sitting prime minister. He stated, “I am very moved tonight, a night of tremendous victory. I am very excited that the people of Israel once again trusted me for the 5th time and with greater confidence. I believe that God and history gave the Jewish people another opportunity to turn their country into a strong nation, and that’s what I’m working for…”
The Likud party won about 26.27% of the vote as of Wednesday afternoon, the Blue and White party winning close to 26%, giving Netanyahu’s party approximately a 14,000 vote lead. Netanyahu confirmed he is already in talks and has a majority of 120 seats to form a new, right-wing government. On the right, the parties Kulanu, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu and the Right-Wing Union secured seats and will enter the 21st Knesset. In the left-centrist bloc, Labor, Meretz, Hadash Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad gained seats in the next government.
President Rivlin is set to approve the Likud party begin to form a coalition government sometime next week. The president visited the Knesset on Wednesday and received the final votes for the parties and mandates. Prime Minister Netanyahu will then have 42 days to form a coalition of at least 61 members of parliament (MK’s).
Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to announce the annexation of West Bank settlements, a campaign promise made before the elections, and President Trump is expected to publish his “Deal of the Century” in the coming weeks. His administration committed to not release any details of the peace deal until after Israel’s elections.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed Israel voted for occupation and not peace, reiterating the Palestinians would reject President Trump’s peace plan. He stated, “We are ready, as we have always been, to hold negotiations, but we will not give up our rights, and we will not accept the “Deal of the Century”… Israelis have voted to preserve the status quo. They have said no to peace and yes to the occupation.”