Netanyahu's right-wing party narrowly wins Israel election
Israel's right-wing Likud-Beitenu union led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly won Tuesday's parliamentary elections, making him the most likely person to build a ruling coalition, according to official results released Wednesday.
With 99 percent of the votes counted, the Likud-Beitenu would take 31 slots in the 120-seat, one-chamber Knesset, followed by the centrist Yesh Atid party led by Yair Lapid with 19 seats, and the left-wing Labor party with 15 seats, the Israeli Election Committee said.
The narrow victory for the Likud-Beitenu had been predicted earlier by the exit polls conducted by major Israeli broadcasters.
Although Netanyahu would be the most likely person to build a ruling coalition, he still needs Lapid's support and will not be able to put together a strictly right-wing government due to a virtual tie between the right and left blocs in the new Knesset.
The ultra-orthodox Shas party and the far-right Habayit Hayeudi (the Jewish Home) party each got 11 seats.
The Movement party led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni gained six seats, the United Torah Judaism seven seats and the left Meretz party six seats as well. The three Arab parties, in total, obtained 12 seats and Kadima, which didn't cross the needed 2-percent threshold at the exit polls, did muster two seats to stay in the Knesset.
Overall, the results showed a tie between the right-wing bloc, including religious parties, and the center-left bloc, including the Arab parties, with each side having 60 seats.