Israeli political blocs didn’t get enough votes for coalition

(L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Benny Gantz, former Israeli Army Chief of Staff and chairman of the Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance join hands as they attend a memorial service for late Israeli president Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, in Jerusalem, 19 September 2019. Photo by: JINIPIX

Jerusalem, March 6 (IANS) The final results of Israel’s parliamentary elections which were held earlier this week showed that the two main political blocs did not gain enough votes to form a coalition government.

According to the final count on Thursday by the Central Elections Committee, the right-wing bloc, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, gained 58 seats while the centre-left bloc, headed by is main rival Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party, garnered 55, reports Xinhua news agency.

The results mean that both Netanyahu and Gantz did not get enough votes to form a majority coalition in Israel’s 120-seat Parliament or the Knesset.

The Likud gained 36 seats, while Blue and White gained 33.

The results are expected to be presented to President Reuven Rivlin on March 10, who will then have seven days to hold consultations with the parties and decide which candidate he will task with forming the next government.

Gantz, 60, started his political career in December 2018 after serving as chief of the Israeli military between 2011 and 2015.

Netanyahu, 70, is Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

He is facing a corruption trial scheduled to begin on March 17, in which he is indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Should Netanyahu establish a new government, he will become the first incumbent premier under a criminal trial in the history of Israel.

Israelis went to the polls on Monday for a third vote within a year in the country’s parliamentary elections, hoping to break the deadlock that has paralyzed the nation’s political system.

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