ISRAEL (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a new term in power after far-right parties gave him a parliamentary majority despite fierce competition from his main rival, Benny Gantz, the screening showed on Wednesday.
A blue-white party, Netanyahu’s main rival, conceded defeat.
With more than 97 percent of the vote counted, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party appears to be mobilizing enough support to control 65 of the 120-seat Knesset, and the prime minister will be chosen to lead the next coalition government for a fifth consecutive term.
Their soldiers’ voices will be counted in military bases over the next two days.
Netanyahu said that US President Donald Trump, who put the Israeli prime minister on his banners to highlight their close ties, called him and congratulated him on his election for a new term, thanking his American ally for “tremendous support for Israel.”
Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that Trump contacted him from the US presidential plane that was heading to Texas.
Trump told reporters at the White House that Netanyahu’s election for a new term bolstered prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“He’s a great ally and he’s a friend. I would like to congratulate him on a carefully planned race. ”
A team led by Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but he did not give details. Angry Palestinians who see Trump’s bias against Israel say it will not succeed.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Twitter that next week he would start meeting with political parties that won parliamentary seats to know who would support becoming prime minister.
Rivlin said the meetings would be broadcast live “to ensure transparency”, and then choose a party leader to try to form a coalition. The candidate has 28 days to do so, with the possibility of extending the period to two weeks if necessary.
The poll was seen as a referendum on Netanyahu’s character and his record in the face of accusations of corruption. The prime minister faces the prospect of being charged in three cases of graft, but denies any wrongdoing.
Netanyahu, however, won four additional seats compared to his outgoing ruling coalition, according to a report by the Central Election Commission of parties that received enough votes to enter parliament.
“It is a huge victory night,” Netanyahu, 69, said in a speech to his celebrants at the Likud headquarters late on Sunday night.
“He is a magician,” the crowd chanted as the fireworks were fired and Netanyahu kissed his wife Sarah.
The White Party, the main rival of Netanyahu’s party on Wednesday, conceded defeat in the general election.
“We did not win this round,” said Yair Lapid, a second member of the centrist party led by former chief of staff Janetz in a televised statement. We will make Likud’s life hell in opposition, “in reference to Netanyahu’s right-wing party.
If Netanyahu remains in command, he will become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, staying in power in July to beat David Ben-Gurion, the state’s founder. But this could be spoiled if he faced criminal charges and was overthrown.
– Immunity? –
A decision on the indictment will be made after a review session in which Netanyahu is expected to pay for keeping it in the national interest. Some political analysts expect he may try to pass a law granting him immunity from prosecution as a leader.
During the election campaign, rival parties exchanged accusations of corruption, fomenting intolerance and laxity toward security.
Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship with Trump, who delighted Israelis and angered the Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017 and moving the US embassy to the city in May.
Two weeks before the election, Trump signed a declaration, and Netanyahu at his side in the White House, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which was extracted from Syria in the 1967 war.
During the election race, Netanyahu increased concern for the Palestinians when he promised to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if he was reelected.
Netanyahu’s promise was widely seen as an attempt to attract the votes of right-wing voters, not a change in policy. But after Trump’s decisions about Jerusalem and the Golan, the prime minister might dare to call for the annexation of settlements in the West Bank.
Commenting on the Israeli elections, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said: “The Israelis voted for the situation to remain as it is. They said no to peace and yes to the occupation.”
The latest round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014.
After the election, Trump is expected to announce his administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East. If the plan includes Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, Netanyahu’s likely allies are likely to oppose the far right.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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