With 90% of the votes counted, Israel’s center-left Blue and White party is projected to win the parliamentary elections edging ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, the top election authority said Wednesday.
Benny Gantz’s Blue and White secured 32 out of the 120 Knesset seats. Netanyhau’s party came second with 31 seats, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported, citing the top election body.
The Palestinian bloc (Israeli Arabs) was able to win 13 seats.
The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman bagged nine seats.
The ultra-orthodox Shas Party won seven seats, the right-wing United Torah Judaism (UTJ) nine, and right-wing Yamina party eight.
Left-wing parties Democratic Union and Labor-Gesher bagged six and five seats, respectively.
According to the preliminary results, Netanyahu will not be able to form a new government without Lieberman’s support making him the kingmaker.
In his first comment after the elections, Netanyahu said early Wednesday that he would seek the formation of a new “Zionist” government that excludes Arab parties.
Voter turnout stood at 63.1%, according to the election committee.
Israel held Tuesday its second general elections this year, due to Netanyahu’s failure to form a government after the previous poll. Observers expect there may be a third round of elections if the crisis continues.
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