Final Israeli Election Results Bolster Netanyahu’s Lead
JERUSALEM - The results released by Israel’s central election commission showed Likud capturing a total of 36 seats in the 120-seat Parliament, compared to 35 seats for its main rival, the centrist Blue and White party. An earlier count had the two parties deadlocked.
Altogether, Likud and its traditional Jewish ultra-Orthodox and nationalist allies command a 65-55 majority, putting Mr. Netanyahu in position to head the next coalition government. On Wednesday, Blue and White’s leaders conceded defeat.
The final count showed another nationalist faction, the New Right party of Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, falling just short of the 3.25 percent of the vote needed to get into Parliament.
The results released late Thursday did not significantly alter the initial ones from Tuesday’s election. They included a count of votes from soldiers, diplomats, prisoners and hospital patients who vote in unusual circumstances.
The only shift was that Likud picked up a seat from one of its traditional allies, the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism.
The New Right had one of the most disappointing performances of the election. The pair of popular pro-settler ministers split from their religious-nationalist Jewish Home party and sought greater power by appealing to new secular voters. The maneuver backfired.
One of the major factors hastening Mr. Netanyahu’s victory was the low voter turnout, about 50 percent, among Israel’s Arab residents.
Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign against Arab politicians, together with a new alliance with anti-Arab extremists and the passage last year of a contentious nation-state law that enshrined Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people alone, deepened calls for an election boycott in Arab communities.