Preliminary vote counting shows Likud, Blue-White tie


Israeli right-wing party Likud and center-left party Blue and White had won the same number of seats in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) elections, according to Israel’s elections committee. 

With 92 percent of the votes counted in Israel’s Tuesday election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) are tied, each receiving 32 seats, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

It added that the bloc of Palestinians (Israeli Arabs) was able to send a total of 12 lawmakers to the parliament and nine each for former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties.

United Torah Judaism (UTJ) secured 8 seats, Yamina 7, Labor-Gesher 6 and the Democratic Union 5, the report says.

According to the preliminary results, Netanyahu will not be able to form a new government without Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu.

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 63.7%, up 1.5% from April, according to the elections 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 over forming a government continues.

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