Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Breaking: Actual Vote Count Reveals Netanyahu Victory Much Larger Than Expected

The exit polls were wrong: Prime Minister Netanyahu won with a substantial margin of victory:

Binyamin Netanyahu appears to be headed into a greater victory than predicted by exit polls, with 30 seats. "Zionist Camp" has 24.

As counting of votes continues in the elections for the 20th Knesset, the Likud party may be headed for an even bigger victory than exit polls predicted.

As of 4:25 a.m. (Israel time), 99.5% of the ballots have been counted and the Likud is leading the pact with 30 seats. The “Zionist Union” of Laborand Hatnua has 24 seats.

Ha'am ItanuMeretzYisrael BeytenuShasUnited Torah Judaism (UTJ)Jewish HomeKulanuYesh Atid

The Joint Arab List has 13 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 11 seats and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu with ten.

The Jewish Home has eight seats, the haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism each have seven seats, Yisrael Beytenu has six and Meretz closes out the list with four seats.
Despite earlier indications that it may have passed the threshold, it appears as though Eli Yishai’s Yachad party will be left out of the Knesset.

91% Count: Likud Maintains Six Seat Lead Over Left-Wing Rival

With 91% of the ballot boxes counted, the Likud has 30 seats, Zionist Union 24, the Joint Arab List 13, Yesh Atid 11, Kulanu 10, Bayit Yehudi at 8, Shas and UTJ at 7, Yisrael Beytenu at 6, and Meretz with 4. 

Eli Yishai's Yachad does not cross the electoral threshold.

Netanyahu Claims Victory As Vote Count Shows Likud Further Ahead

With most votes tallied, Likud heading for clear, dramatic win over Zionist Union; PM promises new coalition with other ‘nationalist parties’

As voting ended in Israel’s Knesset elections Tuesday night, TV exit polls showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu well placed to retain the premiership, with his Likud party neck and neck with rival Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union but better positioned to build a coalition. Netanyahu hailed a Likud victory, though Herzog refused to concede.

By 4 a.m., however, with some 90% of votes counted, the Central Elections Committee was indicating a far more dramatic victory for Netanyahu, with the Likud heading for a possible 30 seats, compared to Zionist Union’s 24 seats.

Netanyahu claimed a victory “against all odds” and promised to form a new government without delay. But Herzog also said he would make “every effort” to build a coalition. Either will likely need the support of Moshe Kahlon, whose new Kulanu party captured nine or 10 seats, according to polls. Kahlon, whose campaign focused almost entirely on bread-and-butter economic issues, refused to take sides, but he is a former Likud minister.

As the results were announced on the nation’s three major TV stations, celebrations erupted at Likud’s campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv. “Against all odds we obtained a great victory for the Likud,” Netanyahu told the gathering. “Now we must form a strong and stable government that will ensure Israel’s security and welfare,” he added, in comments aimed at Kahlon.

He said he had already been in touch with all other “nationalist parties” in hopes of quickly forming a coalition — apparently ruling out a partnership with Herzog.

Netanyahu, who already has a testy relationship with US President Barack Obama, took a sharp turn to the right in the final days of the campaign, staking out a series of hard-line positions that will put him at odds with the international community.
In a dramatic policy reversal, he said he now opposes the creation of a Palestinian state — a key policy goal of the White House and the international community. He also promised to expand construction in Jewish areas of East Jerusalem, the section of the city claimed by the Palestinians as their capital.
Potential Likud ally Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Jewish Home was heading for eight-nine seats, and Avigdor Liberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beytenu was set for five seats. Together with the two ultra-Orthodox parties — Shas, which was expected to win seven seats, and the United Torah Judaism, which was heading for six-seven seats — this could give Netanyahu the firm basis for a right-wing/Orthodox coalition. If Netanyahu can bring in Kulanu, that mix would give him a narrow majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

On the other side of the aisle, Herzog’s natural ally, the left-wing Meretz party, was headed for five seats, while the centrist Yesh Atid was set to win 11-12 seats. Even with support inside or outside a coalition from the Arab Joint List, which looked set to score an impressive 12-13 seats, that would leave Herzog far short of a majority. Kahlon’s support, were it forthcoming, could conceivably give Herzog a blocking majority, but this scenario seemed highly implausible.

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