Benjamin Netanyahu defeats Benny Gantz with larger bloc

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The final voter turnout was 71% – up from 69.8% in the previous election.

By GIL HOFFMAN   MARCH 3, 2020 01:14

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in winning 60 seats for his bloc of right-wing and religious parties in Monday’s election, one less than he needed for a majority in the Knesset, according to exit polls on the three television networks.The first polls indicated that Netanyahu’s Likud won 36-37 seats. Its allies in Shas, UTJ and Yamina won 9, 7-8 and 6-7 respectively. The polls showed Blue and White with 33 seats, its ally Labor-Gesher-Meretz 6-7, the Joint List 14-15 and Yisrael Beytenu 6-8.Read More Related Articles

When Channel 13 updated its numbers at around 1 a.m. Israel time, Gantz gained one seat to 34 and the blocs shifted slightly, leaving the right-wing with only 59 seats.Channel 12 also updated its numbers, giving Likud 37 seats, Blue and White 32, Arab Joint List 15, Shas 9, Yisrael Beytenu 7, UTJ 7, Labor-Gesher-Meretz 7 and Yamina 6.The numbers are expected to change overnight. The votes of soldiers, who tend to lean to the right, have not yet been counted and the Joint List tends to go down a seat when the soldiers’ votes are added. But, if the Right does not obtain its 61st seat, it could end up being because the far-right Otzma Yehudit refused Netanyahu’s repeated requests to quit the race.

Netanyahu immediately tweeted “thank you.”The outright victory in the third election in under a year is expected to enable Netanyahu to quickly form a right-wing coalition after having headed a caretaker government since December 2018.Netanyahu spoke to the heads of the parties in his camp immediately after the exit polls were announced and agreed to form a strong nationalist government as soon as possible.

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