Netanyahu, Gantz deadlocked after Israeli election

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White had 32 seats each of parliament’s 120 with more than 90% of the vote counted.
Wednesday 18/09/2019
A a combo photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance. (AFP)
A a combo photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance. (AFP)

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger Benny Gantz were deadlocked with nearly all votes from the country’s general election counted on Wednesday, Israeli media reported.

Various Israeli media reported that Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White had 32 seats each of parliament’s 120 with more than 90 percent of the vote counted.

The reports were citing sources with the elections committee, as that level of results had not been officially posted yet.

The results gave no obvious path for either to form a coalition, raising the possibility of negotiations towards a unity government.

Ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman could prove to be kingmaker, with the reported results showing his nationalist Yisrael Beitenu with nine seats.

The mainly Arab Joint List alliance was set to become the third-largest force in parliament with 12 seats, the reports said.

That could put the Arab parties in position to block Netanyahu from continuing as prime minister if they decided to break with precedent and endorse Gantz for the job.

Israel’s Arab parties have traditionally not endorsed anyone for prime minister.

(AFP)