Israel on edge awaiting final elections results

March 25, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The counting of the votes cast by Israel’s citizens for the 24th Knesset continued through Wednesday night, as the country expectantly awaits the final results and as the current political deadlock persists.

Drive-in polling station for people sick with COVID-19 in Tel Aviv during Election Day for Israel’s 24th Knesset. Tel Aviv, Mar 23, 2021. Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS

The last ballots to be counted are those cast in double envelopes, by COVID-19 patients, IDF soldiers and others who voted at special sites.

The latest update after counting over 90% of the votes shows that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his block have 52 seats and can rely on another 7 seats from the Yemina party headed by Naftali Bennet, totalling 59 seats.

The opposing block has 57 seats.

The Islamist Raam party lost one seat and can now count four seats, and the left-wing Meretz can now count six.

Neither side has the required 61 seats to establish a government.

The final results are expected to be announced Thursday night or Friday morning.

Small changes can cause a dramatic shift in the number of seats and Netanyahu may still be able to obtain the required majority of 61 mandates, although the chances seem slim.

Netanyahu’s bloc may try to poach a few Members of Knesset from the opposing bloc, possibly former members of the Likud party who regret their political choices.

However, with a deadlock of 60-60, Israel may be facing its fifth round of elections in a bit more than two years.

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