As official Israeli election results continue to trickle out, a major Israeli television network is reporting that around 91% of the national vote has already been counted and the results evidence no clear path to victory for any candidate.
According to Channel 12, the vast majority of votes have been counted, but the Central Elections Committee (CEC) is being extra cautious with recounts and has held back releasing most final results pending extra scrutiny of the ballots.
As of this writing, only 64.10% of the official results have been released by the CEC.
Israel’s Channel 12 cited a source inside the CEC as saying that the vote, with about 91% counted, reflected the following results:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White tied with 32 Knesset seats each; the Arab Joint List with 12 ; the ultra-Orthodox Shas and Yisrael Beytenu headed by Avigdor Lieberman have 9 seats each; United Torah Judaism with 8; Yamina with 7; the leftist Labor-Gesher with 6; and the leftist Democratic Camp has 5.
If the television report is accurate, Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc would have a total of 56 seats, the so-called center-left would have 55 and Lieberman’s party has 9. This means Lieberman’s party is needed by both Netanyahu and Gantz to form a coalition consisting of more than 60 seats in the 120 seat Knesset.
Lieberman has repeatedly vowed to reject any coalition between Netanyahu and ultra-religious parties, instead vowing to attempt a national unity government that encompasses both Likud and Blue and White. Such unity talks could spell trouble for Netanyahu since Gantz has said that he is open to a grand coalition with Likud if the party first dumps the longtime Israeli leader and replaces Netanyahu with a new party head.
Ultimately, it will be the size of each party after final results that will determine whether Gantz or Netanyahu will have the first shot at forming a coalition. It could take weeks of negotiations to eventually form a coalition.
Unless the final results are dramatically different, it appears that Netanyahu does not have a clear-cut path to a right-wing majority and the country seems headed to extensive coalition talks.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.