Israel: Netanyahu on the road to a return to power

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Isra&euml ;l: Netanyahu on the road to a return to power

Benyamin Netanyahu with his wife in a polling station after voting

Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seemed on Wednesday to succeed in his bet to return to the power, with the support of its religious and far-right allies, at the end of legislative elections whose final results could however cause surprises.

According to projections updated overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday by three major Israeli channels, Mr. Netanyahu's party is credited with 30 or 31 seats, out of the 120 in Parliament, ahead of the Yesh Atid (There is a future) party. outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid who would win between 22 and 24 seats.

This is followed by nine parties, including the far-right Religious Zionism alliance of Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir with 14 seats, and the centre-right party of the former army chief Benny Gantz, credited with 11 to 13 seats.

With its allies, Mr. Netanyahu's Likud would have 62 seats, including one more than the majority. But these scores could change when the official results are announced, depending in particular on the seats won by the smaller parties.

I have experience, I did some elections, we have to wait for the final results. But our path, that of Likud, has proven to be the right one. We are close to a great victory, Netanyahu, on trial for corruption, told his supporters gathered in Jerusalem.

If the results are in line with tonight's polls, I will form a national government for all the citizens of Israel, added Mr. Netanyahu, the most enduring of the heads of government in the history of the country which had lost the power in June 2021 for the benefit of a motley coalition today led by the centrist Yaïr Lapid.

As long as the last ballot is not counted, nothing is played. We will wait patiently, even if we have no patience, for the final results, the latter told his supporters gathered in the metropolis of Tel Aviv.

Already, a former Likud party, the current Justice Minister Gideon Saar, has warned of the risk of seeing Israel move towards a coalition of extremists led by Mr. Netanyahu and his allies.

People want to walk the streets safely, that our soldiers and police are not bound hand and foot, Ben Gvir said, reiterating his call for the use of force , including against Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh for his part denounced a progression of far-right religious parties during these elections, testifying according to him to the rise of extremism and racism in Israeli society, including the Palestinian people. suffered for years.

The results show that Netanyahu has the best chance of forming a government with fascists on his side. And this is of great concern to us […] because it testifies to the direction that this country is taking and what awaits the Palestinians living in this country, declared to AFP Aïda Touma-Suleiman, deputy of the Israeli Arab party Hadash- Tal.

For these fifth legislative elections in the space of three and a half years, the political class feared a fatigue of the 6.8 million registered voters. The opposite happened, with a turnout of 71.3%, the highest since 2015, according to the electoral commission.

In the Israeli proportional system, an electoral list must obtain at least 3.25% of the votes to enter Parliament with a minimum of four seats, a particularly critical situation for the parties of the Israeli Arab minority.

In 2020, Arab parties hostile to Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing bloc won a record 15 seats after campaigning under one banner. But this time they ran in scattered order under three lists: Raam, Hadash-Taal (secular) and Balad (nationalist).

According to the exit polls, the Raam and Hadash-Taal parties should pass 3.25%, while the Balad formation flirts with this minimum. If it did not reach it, Mr. Netanyahu's chances of returning to business would be greater.

Today we bring Netanyahu back to power, we offer him this gift, because we have been passive, lamented Mansour Abbas, leader of the Raam party, unconvinced to see the Arab vote to block Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing bloc.

For Yohanan Plesner, director of the Israel Democratic Institute, an analytical center in Jerusalem, caution is in order, noting that there had been lags between polls and actual results in recent election cycles.

And if the numbers move enough to cause Mr. Netanyahu and his allies to lose the expected majority, Israel could be heading for new elections…the sixth in four years.< /p>

Israel, the perpetual election campaign

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