Jerusalem (AP) – After the fourth parliamentary election in just two years, there is no way out of the political crisis in Israel for the time being.
After counting 90 percent of the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing conservative Likud remained the strongest force with 30 seats, but even alongside his far-right rival Jamina Party Naftali Bennett, he would only have 59 of 120. seats in parliament. The Arab Raam company reached the 3.25 percent threshold on Wednesday and has five seats – it is now tilting the scales. However, a coalition with far-right parties would be extremely problematic.
In principle, however, it will also be difficult for the anti-Netanyahu camp around number two, the Future Party’s previous opposition leader Jair Lapid, to form an alliance with Bennett’s participation. Some potential coalition partners differ widely in terms of content. The block achieved a total of 56 seats. Lapid rejects coalition with Netanyahu.
However, the picture may still shift until all votes have been counted, which is not expected for Friday. The official final result will be published eight days after the election. Israel faces difficult and lengthy coalition talks.
The country remains as divided as in the past two years, Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) president Jochanan Plesner said in an initial analysis that evening. A fifth choice remains a very realistic option.
Netanyahu spoke out against another vote that night, calling for the formation of a stable government. He does not rule out anyone as a potential coalition partner, the 71-year-old said. Jamina Chairman Bennett is a political rival to Netanyahu and the relationship between the two is considered tense. During the election campaign, Bennett’s goal was to replace Netanyahu. On election night, he said he was a man on the right. However, he did not comment on the coalition options.
Netanyahu has served as Prime Minister and the country’s longest-serving head of government since 2009. Many young Israelis don’t know anyone else. From the perspective of some Israelis, it is time for a change, also as a corruption process is underway against Netanyahu. The many votes in recent years have led to electoral fatigue and dissatisfaction with politics. The turnout was only 67.2 percent on Tuesday evening. It was last lower in 2009.
In addition, many people have not forgotten the failure of the government in the course of the corona pandemic, which prevented Netanyahu from scoring with the rapid vaccination campaign: the number of infections was sometimes significantly higher than in Germany, and civilians had to come to terms with long lockdowns. phases. Secular Israelis also kept Netanyahu overly attentive to the ultra-Orthodox. Strictly religious parties have recently been Netanyahu’s major partners. A dispute arose that put Israeli society to the test.