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WorldNetanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Elections

19:50  18 september  2019
19:50  18 september  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

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A day after Israel ’s general election — the second in five months — there is still uncertainty about final outcome, but it appears the long reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be coming to an end.

Exit polls following Israel 's second general election in five months suggest the result is too close to call. The exit polls suggested that neither Mr Netanyahu nor Mr Gantz would be able to form a governing coalition without the support of Mr Lieberman.

Video by The Associated Press

A day after Israel’s general election — the second in five months — there is still uncertainty about the final outcome, but it appears the long reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be coming to an end.

As expected, neither Mr. Netanyahu nor his main rival, the former army chief Benny Gantz, a centrist, won enough votes to claim an outright majority in the Israeli Parliament. Crucially, neither seems to have a straightforward path to forming a governing coalition with at least 61 of the 120 lawmakers in Parliament.

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Equally, whatever the outcome of the Israeli elections , the Palestinians will be the big losers. The most obvious kingmaker in the negotiations is Netanyahu ’s former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose furious fall-out and departure from the coalition with Bibi arguably led to this

Since Israel will have held two legislative elections in 2019, the term 2019 Israeli legislative election may refer to: April 2019 Israeli legislative election . September 2019 Israeli legislative election .

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That means the contest for prime minister will be decided not by the vote tally but by coalition talks, and Mr. Gantz and his Blue and White party seems likely to be given the first chance to form a government. The support of a smaller third party, Yisrael Beiteinu, could prove essential, putting the power to decide the future Israeli government into the hands of that party’s leader, Avigdor Liberman.

Here’s what you need to know.

Netanyahu’s reign appears to be fading.

Mr. Netanyahu, who has led Israel for the past decade, had been aiming for a record fifth term in office, but his chances look increasingly slim based on the early results of Tuesday’s vote. The right-wing nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties of his presumed bloc failed to gain enough seats to provide him a majority, and Mr. Liberman is not inclined to put him over the top.

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Israel ’s politics lurched definitively to the right under Netanyahu ’s watch, as he presided over the slow-motion collapse of the peace process with the Palestinians. No single outside actor seemed to put their thumb on the scales of the Israeli election as much as the American president.

The latest developments: Israeli voters decide Benjamin Netanyahu ’s fate. Netanyahu breaks rule in the final sprint. Turnout is higher than the last election . Image. Voting in Rosh Haayin, Israel , on Tuesday.CreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times.

Netanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Elections
Netanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Elections
Netanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Elections

Mr. Netanyahu, who became Israel’s longest serving leader this summer, is facing possible indictment on accusations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, allegations that loomed over both the April election and the do-over this week.

Mr. Netanyahu failed to produce a governing coalition after the April elections, and chose to send Israelis back to the polls rather than give someone else a chance to form a government. He had hoped to achieve a stronger mandate this time around, with the support of smaller parties on the religious right, but he seems to have made no gains and the support of those groups seems unlikely to be enough to form a governing coalition.

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JERUSALEM — Israel ’s election was too close to call early Wednesday, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his chief rival, the former army chief Benny Gantz, a centrist, immediately commanding enough support to form a majority coalition, according to exit polls.

READ MORE: Israel set for snap elections after Netanyahu fails to form government for 1st time in history. That ’s not even talking about the opposition, where among the policies championed by Blue and White are civil marriages – still illegal in Israel – and allowing public transportation to function on

What happens now?

An election victory doesn’t necessarily mean a successful new government. The Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, has the discretion to choose who has the best chance of assembling a majority coalition within 28 days, though a two-week extension is possible. Typically, but not always, the first opportunity to form a government goes to the leader of the party with the most votes.

That opportunity could fall to Mr. Gantz, whose broader bloc of center-left parties may give him the support he needs, provided he can count on the backing of Mr. Liberman.

The Joint List of Arab parties, which performed better than expected, could also be a factor. It has not ruled out the idea of joining a coalition with Mr. Gantz’s party.

What will Mr. Liberman do?

The secular ultranationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu, which is expected to win nine seats in the Knesset, may have the potential to make or break a coalition. Its leader, Avigdor Liberman, appears to hold the power to be a kingmaker.

Once a staunch ally of Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Liberman effectively denied the prime minister a coalition after the April elections when he refused to join a partnership with ultra-Orthodox parties after a dispute over a bill allowing more seminary students to be drafted into the military.

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Showing Benjamin Netanyahu several seats short of a clear path to a majority coalition, the three TV exit polls published at the end of voting on Tuesday night suggested that Israeli politics have been thrown wide open after a decade of his rule. If, that is, they are accurate.

Prime minister’s ruling Likud party trailing Blue and White party, poll shows.

On Tuesday, as the election results rolled in, Mr. Liberman told his supporters that there was only one option for a government: “A broad, liberal, national government made up of Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud and Blue and White.”

Mr. Gantz has vowed that he would not sit on a government with Mr. Netanyahu because of the looming corruption allegations. But if the prime minister stepped down as the head of his party, there is a possibility that could happen. There is also the possibility that Blue and White could form a majority by partnering with Mr. Liberman’s party and other center-left groups, including potentially the Joint List of Arab parties — though Mr. Liberman would probably refuse to sit with Arab parties.

Arab voters came out in force.

Israeli Arabs make up around 20 percent of the voting population, and they showed up on Tuesday in larger numbers than expected — a huge departure from five months ago.

In April, less than 50 percent of eligible Israeli Arab voters cast a ballot — a historically low turnout — in part because of a boycott of that election over the passage of laws seen as discriminatory, as well as a lack of robust representation. Arabs have long felt disenfranchised by Israel’s political system.

But Arab politicians — and even some center-left Jewish parties — made efforts to appeal to Arab voters in the recent campaign with promises to address crime, housing shortages and other issues. The Joint List of Arab parties — a coalition of the four largest Arab-majority parties — has regained the influence it lost in April and looks set to be the third-largest party in the Knesset, according to early results.

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- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was waiting for results in the country's general election , but that Netanyahu ’s Likud party advocated for legislation opposed by the attorney general that would have allowed party operatives to AnalysisIf exit polls are right, Netanyahu is in trouble .

Israel ’s Election Deadlock May Mean Netanyahu ’s Luck Has Finally Run Out. The once-promising campaign of the Californian is in trouble . Coming down to the wire in Israel . Israel ’s election was too close to call early Wednesday, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his main rival

The party’s leader, Ayman Odeh, celebrated the results, both Mr. Netanyahu’s weakness and the failure of the ultraright party Otzma Yehudit to clinch any seats in the Knesset, The Times of Israel reported.Mr. Netanyahu drew harsh condemnation earlier this year when he said he was willing to partner with Otzma Yehudit, despite its extremist anti-Arab policies.

Mr. Odeh told reporters outside his home on Wednesday that he might recommend Mr. Gantz as the next prime minister. He also signaled a willingness to join a coalition, under certain conditions.

But he said his party would not be willing to join a unity government like the one put forth by Mr. Liberman. He also signaled that he wanted to lead the opposition.

Read More

Israel's president taps Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form next government .
The final results published Wednesday saw the Likud party win 32 out of the 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament, one behind Blue and White's 33.Netanyahu now has 42 days to try and cobble together a government. If he fails to do so the opportunity could pass to the next candidate who the president thinks has the greatest chance of forming a government.

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