Netanyahu looking at possible 70% votes for majority in Knesset
JERUSALEM – On Wednesday, Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed a “huge vote of confidence” from voters and declared that his right-wing coalition was on the verge of a resounding election victory.
After Israel’s fifth election in less than four years, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party and its likely religious and far-right allies were on track to control a majority in parliament with roughly 70% of votes counted.
“We are on the brink of a very big victory,” a smiling Netanyahu told cheering supporters at his Likud party election headquarters, his voice hoarse from weeks of campaigning.
Netanyahu’s coalition with far-right firebrand Itamar Ben-Gvir, whose Religious Zionism bloc is on track to become the third-largest party, has alarmed Palestinians and alarmed some allies, including the US.
Netanyahu Surged Forward After Trailing Behind
But Netanyahu, whose position appeared to have strengthened after early exit polls showed him with a razor-thin majority, vowed to form a “stable, national government” as the crowd chanted “Bibi, king of Israel.”
The former prime minister, who established formal diplomatic ties with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020, stated that a government led by him would act responsibly, avoid “unnecessary adventures,” and “expand the circle of peace.”
Though the landscape could shift as the ballot count trickles in, the partial tally showed Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges he denies, leading a bloc of four parties taking 67 of the Knesset’s 120 seats.
After a campaign dominated by worries over security and the cost of living, support for centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s ruling coalition appeared to have collapsed although Lapid stopped short of conceding victory and said he would wait until the final count.
Less than 18 months out of office, Netanyahu also said he would wait for official results. – Reuters
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