Israeli election exit poll shows Netanyahu on the brink of a narrow majority

Israeli election exit poll shows Netanyahu on the brink of a narrow majority

Israeli election exit poll shows Netanyahu on the brink of a narrow majority


Jerusalem
CNN:

Former Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu was on the verge of a triumphant return to his post in Israel exit polls: suggested he could wipe out a narrow majority in the country’s fifth national election in less than four years.

If the exit polls are right, a big if, Netanyahu and his political allies seems to be on pace to win many seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

As expected, the first exit polls from the country’s three main broadcasters late Tuesday showed that no party had won enough seats to govern on their own, meaning a coalition government would need to be formed.

According to the exit poll, pro-Netanyahu parties will occupy 61 or 62 of the 120 seats in the parliament. The alliance consists of Netanyahu’s Likud party, Religious Zionism/Jewish Power, Shas, and United Torah Judaism.

The alliance supporting incumbent Prime Minister Yair Lapid, consisting of Yesh Atid, National Union, Israel Beytinu, Labor, Meretz and Ra’am, was poised to take 54 or 55 seats, according to exit polls.

The Arab Hadash/Taal party, which is unlikely to support either side, was expected to secure four seats, exit polls showed.

The election was marked by the highest turnout since 2015. The Central Election Committee said 71.3% of eligible voters cast ballots, higher than in any of the last four elections that resulted in deadlocks or short-lived governments.

Netanyahu spent the final weeks of the campaign touring the country in a truck converted into a traveling platform encased in bulletproof glass. Advertisements favoring Netanyahu and those shadowing his opponents are plastered on the sides of buses.

It is not yet clear that Netanyahu is back after being out-maneuvered by Lapid after last year’s election.

Exit polls are only projections based on interviews with voters on Tuesday, not official results. Results can and have changed during election night. The official results may not be final until Wednesday or even Thursday.

Once the official results are in, President Isaac Herzog will invite the politician he believes is most likely to form a government to begin coalition talks.

Israeli election exit poll shows Netanyahu on the brink of a narrow majority

Netanyahu’s return to the post of head of government could mean radical shifts in Israeli society.

A Netanyahu government will almost certainly include the newly emerging Jewish nationalist Religious Zionism/Jewish Power alliance, whose leaders include Itamar Ben Gvir, once convicted of inciting racism and supporting terrorism.

If the exit polls prove correct, the far-right bloc will more than double its representation in the Knesset. The group had six seats in the outgoing parliament. exit polls suggest they won 14 or 15 seats this time.

Asked by CNN on Tuesday whether he feared he would lead a far-right government if he returned to office, Netanyahu responded with an apparent reference to the Raam party, which made history last year by becoming the first Arab party ever to join the party. . Israel’s governing coalition.

“We don’t want a government with the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports terrorism, denies the existence of Israel, and is quite hostile to the United States. That is what we are going to bring,” Netanyahu told CNN in English at his polling station in Jerusalem.

And Netanyahu’s allies talked about making changes in the judicial system. It could end Netanyahu’s own corruption trial, in which he has pleaded not guilty.

Netanyahu himself has been one of the main issues not only in Tuesday’s election but also in the four elections before it, with voters and politicians split into camps based on whether they want the man universally known as Bibi in power. known or not.

Part of the difficulty in building a stable government over the past four elections has been that even some political parties that agree with Netanyahu on issues refuse to work with him for personal or political reasons.

Whether the exit polls are correct or not, they are only exit polls, not official results.

It will take some time to get the official results. they may be ready as early as Wednesday, but it could be Thursday before the final makeup of Israel’s 25th Knesset is clear.

That’s partly because parties must garner at least 3.25% of the total vote to win a seat at all in the Knesset, which was set up to facilitate coalition building by keeping very small parties out of the legislature.

To determine how many seats each party will receive, election officials must first determine which parties have passed the threshold. They can then figure out how many votes are needed to win one Knesset seat, and allocate seats to parties based on the number of votes they receive.

That’s the point where the real tour and deal begins.

There is a slim chance that even if the election results look deadlocked, a smart negotiator can pull together a surprise coalition, as Lapid did last year.

On the other hand, even if on paper it looks like one or another leader has the support to form a majority government, they still have to get smaller parties into coalition agreements.

And those smaller parties will have demands: control over specific ministries, funding for projects or programs important to their constituents, passing new laws or getting rid of old ones.

Potential prime ministers must balance the competing demands of rival coalition partners, each of whom knows they hold the key to the head of government.

And whoever becomes the prime minister, if he becomes one, he will face the same problems.

The cost of living in Israel is skyrocketing, as in many other places, with rising energy and grocery bills. A survey by the Israel Democracy Institute this summer found that the party’s economic platform was by far the factor most often cited as a reason for choosing whom to vote for. Almost half of Israeli voters (44%) said it was the most important factor, far ahead of a quarter (24%) who said the party leader was the deciding factor.

Any new prime minister must also confront the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militias, which has claimed more lives on both sides this year than at any time since 2015.

Israel’s defense forces have been conducting frequent raids for months in the occupied West Bank, particularly Jenin and Nablus, saying they are trying to arrest known attackers and seize weapons.

As a strategy, it does not seem to have reduced the level of violence. at least one Israeli civilian was shot and killed Saturday near Hebron in the West Bank, and others were wounded in the same incident, as were two medics who responded; one Israeli and one Palestinian. A day later, a Palestinian rammed his car into five Israeli soldiers near Jericho. Both Palestinian attackers were killed in a cycle of violence that the new prime minister will have to deal with if there is indeed a new prime minister in Tuesday’s vote.



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