Former PM Netanyahu set to return to power in Israel

Jerusalem, Nov 2 (EFE).- Benjamin Netanyahu was on course to form a majority government with his ultra-orthodox and far-right partners, according to a partial vote count on Wednesday.

With more than 86% of votes from Monday’s election counted, the former prime minister’s dramatic return to power was all but confirmed.

The anti-Netanyahu bloc has remained silent and its leader, the current prime minister Yair Lapid, is preparing to hand over power to his rival, according to several media reports in Israel.

The pro-Netanyahu bloc’s lead is considerable, and has already exceeded the 61 seats needed to form a government in the 120-seat Knesset.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party – the largest party in parliament with 32 seats – is expected to form a government with its partners, Religious Zionism, and the two ultra-Orthodox groups.

The broad group of center, right and left-wing forces that make up the anti-Netanyahu bloc has been left with only 50 seats.

Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party will remain as the second largest party with 24 lawmakers, but its partners’ disastrous showings – especially on the left – have significantly undermined the alliance.

The trend is illustrated by the Labor Party, which governed Israel for four decades and now can barely secure the minimum four seats, or of the pacifist Meretz, which could not cross the electoral threshold and will be left out of Parliament for the first time since it was created in 1992.

Most of the regular votes have already been counted, with just the so-called double envelope votes, coming from military bases, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and embassies, still to be tallied.

The majority of those are expected to go to the right-wing parties, although in the past they have also benefited Meretz, according to analysts.

According to the Central Electoral Committee, those ballots will be counted overnight, with the final result expected on Thursday night.

Monday’s elections were the fifth to be held in Israel in less than four years.EFE


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