Gantz’s Blue and White Party have 33 seats to Likud’s 31 in the latest standings from Tuesday’s do-over election, according to Israel’s Central Elections Committee.
Election officials say tallies won’t be absolutely final until they have investigated the ballots at 15 polling stations where there were suspected voting irregularities.
Quoting sources in the State Prosecutor’s Office, Channel 12 news reported Netanyahu’s hearing was not likely to be delayed due to the election results, which left no party with a clear path to forming a government.
It is widely believed that had Netanyahu won the election with a clear majority, he would have sought immunity from prosecution via a Knesset vote and then sought legislation to prevent the Supreme Court from overturning any such Knesset decision. I
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief rival, Benny Gantz, declared victory after near-final vote tallies on Thursday showed his party slightly widening a narrow first-place finish in this week’s parliamentary elections.
Netanyahu did not challenge Gantz’s declaration.
Trump said he had not spoken to Netanyahu, a man he has described as a close friend. He then noted that the election is close while playing down Netanyahu’s importance to the alliance between the United States and Israel.
“Our relations are with Israel, so we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters traveling with him in California.
It could have ended far worse. If Netanyahu had won a few more Knesset seats, he would have secured immunity from prosecution, set up the most extreme government in Israeli history and finished his demolition derby of the country’s democracy. A rare convergence of favorable circumstances – chiefly the uptick in Arab voter participation, the failure of Kahanist Otzma Yehudit and the indifference of Likud voters – combined to spare Israel from a disaster that would have changed the country forever.
+/- Previous Election 09/04/19
As of Wednesday morning, Gantz had already reached out to Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List, the conglomeration of four Arab parties that scored remarkably well in Tuesday’s election, securing 12 seats.
If the Central Elections Committee finishes counting all the votes by Wednesday afternoon, the president may ask panel chairman Justice Hanan Melcer to allow him to summon party representatives on Sunday. He acted in a similar manner after the April election earlier this year as well as in the 2015 ballot. Such consultations usually last two days, and when they conclude the president has to decide whether to give the mandate to form a government to a Knesset member who has agreed to take up the task.
According to the official results released by Israel’s Central Elections Committee after counting 90% of the votes, Blue and White managed to win 32 seats while Likud obtained 31 seats, but both of them appear to lack the support of the majority of elected parliament members necessary to secure their leader the prime minister’s seat.
תוצאות נכונות ל- 18/09/2019 12:31 לחתך הארצי
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At 9am local time, the official tally said 42% of votes had been counted, with Likud on 28%, and Blue and White on 27%.
However, Israeli news outlets, citing sources within the country’s elections committee, reported that around 90% of votes had been counted and showed a dead heat with the two main parties at 32 seats in the Knesset each.
Three Dolphin-class submarines and four Sa’ar 6-class corvette were purchased from the German company ThyssenKrupp by Israel. The suspicion in this case refers to swaying the deal in ThyssenKrup’s favor for the personal gain of several of the people involved. Netanyahu is not a suspect in Case 3000, though his cousin and personal lawyer David Shimron, who also represented the German company in Israel, is one of the main suspects.
Blue and White party candidates have in recent days sent many messages to Mandelblit demanding that the case be reopened and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s role in the affair be re-examined.
Mandelblit wrapped up his investigation in Case 3000 months ago, concluding that Netanyahu was not involved in influence peddling in the sale of submarines by the German company ThyssenKrupp to Israel.
Mr Netanyahu had sought a clear victory with his right-wing partners to secure immunity from three expected corruption trials.
Looking visibly deflated and sipping frequently from a glass of water, Mr. Netanyahu told a small but loud crowd in Tel Aviv that he would wait for the actual results, but planned to enter negotiations to establish “a strong Zionist government and prevent a dangerous anti-Zionist government.”
i24NEWS DESK | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells supporters in first address since polls closed on Israel’s national election rerun that the Jewish State needs a „strong a Zionist gov’t“ and that it can’t rely on “anti-Zionist” Arab parties.
“We stood together steadfast in the election campaign and we will stand together, united, in the missions that face us.”
That is Netanyahu. In victory, he stands alone. In defeat, united.
He of course couldn’t have failed to notice that there were only about 300 diehard supporters still left cheering for him in a hall that can hold over a thousand and that not all Likud ministers had arrived.
-Kahol Lavan 32
-The Joint List 12
-Yisrael Beiteinu 9
-United Torah Judaism 8
-Democratic Union 5
The unimaginable may have happened in tonight’s Israeli elections. Based on initial exit polls, the age of Benjamin Netanyahu may have come to an end. If exit polls are to be trusted, Benny Gantz may end up getting first crack at setting up a new government. Israel stood at the edge of a religious-nationalist abyss and, at the very last moment, took a step back.
The last voters were still lining up to cast their ballots at 10 p.m. when the exit polls were reported.
Adding to the uncertainty, Israeli exit polls have been inaccurate and unreliable in the past.
Actual results were expected to trickle in overnight.
NBC News’ Bill Neely reports from Tel Aviv where exit polls are showing Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu is falling short of the majority to maintain his position in the country’s election. Aired on 09/17/19.
i24NEWS DESK | The American Zionist Movement are holding election watch parties throughout US. Our Michelle Divon with the details.
The police announcement Tuesday – that the investigations into two cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been completed – came 13 months after Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decided that a “preliminary examination” of the allegations, which itself took six months, should become full-fledged criminal investigations.
The prime minister has branded all three cases a baseless “witch hunt.” and his attorneys accused Mandelblit of interfering with elections by announcing his intention to indict during a campaign season.
According to a statement by the organization, the accounts are suspected of „actively commenting on pages that encourage voting or to posts discussing the election, in order to undermine Israeli-Arab politicians and their parliamentary work.“
The statement added that such comments were often backed by other suspected fake accounts, and were marked and promoted by Facebook’s algorithm as „Top Fans.“
Facebook confirmed that it deleted profiles that it found to be undoubtedly fake.
In April, Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the beaches near Tel Aviv, exhorting sunbathers to go home and vote. This time, Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked and Kahol Lavan’s Yair Lapid hit the beaches as soon as they had voted themselves (and Gantz himself went to the beach later).
Netanyahu has made every Israeli politician a wanna-Bibi. One party leader texted Tuesday afternoon: “We are all fighting a digital election, and we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s Netanyahu’s ‘gevalt’ legacy.” Even if Netanyahu loses this election or is forced to resign soon after over his corruption investigations, his gevalt strategy is here to stay.
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„The media is reporting that there’s a record voter turnout among the Left, and a low voter turnout among right-wing voters,“ he said to a crowd gathered at Jerusalem’s central bus station,
„[The media] says the percentage of voters is surprising. It’s high among the Arab population. It’s not surprising. The Palestinian Authority is coming out with an official statement and I quote, ‚go out to vote and bring down Netanyahu'“.
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Campaign posters of Netanyahu shaking hands with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the Likud headquarters, Tel Aviv, July 28, 2019.