04/10/2019, 10.03
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Elections in Israel: Netanyahu favorite to form (fifth) government

Substantial parity (35 seats each) between the outgoing Likud of the premier and the blue and white coalition of challenger Benny Gantz. However, the game of alliances and the affirmation of the right-wing parties should reward "King Bibi", with a longer political life than Ben Gurion. Before the end of the vote count, Netanyahu declares: "Huge victory".


Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A race without winners or losers but one which the game of alliances could lead to a fifth mandate - absolute record in the history of the country - for outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

With almost all the ballots counted (around 97%), this would seem to be the result of yesterday's political elections that saw a head-to-head battle between the right-wing Likud party of "King Bibi" and the center-right coalition Blue and Bianco led by former general Benny Gantz.

The latest  exit polls show that the Likud and the rival movement will win both 35 seats in the Knesset, the Israeli single-chamber parliament (120 seats in total). Others gave the ruling party the advantage of a vote. In any case, the result seems to guarantee Netanyahu a strong position in the formation of the next executive, increasingly leaning towards the right.

In the political elections, no party has ever won a majority, necessitating the creation of coalition governments resulting from intense parliamentary negotiations.

"King Bibi", as the 69-year-old leader of the right-wing Likud party is called, campaigned fiercely rejecting the  allegations of corruption and fraud and brandishing the threat of external danger (primarily Iran), which he alone - with the help of Trump - is able to foil.

59-year-old rival Benny Gantz tried to dismantle the image of Netanyahu as a guarantor of national security. For many, the hope is that this vote will bring "new faces and fresh air" to the country's ruling class.

From the first exit polls, a challenge seemed to emerge without a clear winner. Late yesterday evening, both Netanyahu and challenger Gantz claimed victory at the polls. A propaganda move, without a real response in terms of votes.

" We won! The Israeli public has had its say!" Blue and White said in a statement. "These elections have a clear winner and a clear loser." But Netanyahu was also claiming victory"It is a night of colossal victory," he said. "I'm very touched that, for the fifth time, the people of Israel have believed in me." An absolute record, which also places him in front of the founding father of the homeland David Ben Gurion.

Behind the probable mandate to the outgoing Prime Minister, the good result of the right-wing and far-right parties that should form the coalition of the future government, in a nation where the center-left and left seem to have disappeared from the political scene.

On the eve of the elections the two leaders had ruled out a "great alliance", but the hypothesis - although remote - for some analysts is not completely closed.

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