Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has won the election to come back for the fifth term even as the main opposition party conceded defeat in the country’s elections.
The Prime Minister has however given an indication to forge a coalition that has the potential to be the most religious and far-right government in the country’s history.
Leaders of the Blue and White party, headed by former military chief, Benny Gantz, made the concession announcement as it appeared there was no way it could secure the 61-seat majority it needs in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset to form a government.
“We didn’t win this time,” said Yair Lapid, a Blue and White leader. “I respect the voters’ decision.”
He vowed that the party would come back fighting in the next election. Speaking after him, Gantz said he would serve Israelis whether or not that’s from within government.
“It’s just my first day in the next 10 years that I plan to serve the Israeli public,” he said. “The war is not over.”
Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Blue and White are both on track to win 35 seats in Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament, with about 97 per cent of the votes tallied.
Netanyahu appears to have a clear path to a majority coalition, with his natural partners on the right of the political spectrum projected to win 65 seats.
US President Donald Trump, who spoke to the Prime Minister by phone, said that it might be “a little early” but said it looked like Netanyahu had “won it in a good fashion.”
“The fact that Bibi won, I think we’ll see some pretty good action in terms of peace,” said Trump, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “Everybody said you can’t have peace in the Middle East with Israel and the Palestinians. I think we have a better chance with Bibi having won.”
But others disagreed, pointing to the likely make-up of his coalition and his campaign promise to annex parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.