Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared himself the winner of the Israeli parliamentary elections. Based on the exit polls, Netanyahu’s Likud party seems to have won 36 or 37 seats.
Blue and White of his rival Benny Gantz would have received 32 or 33 seats. Gantz did not want to acknowledge his defeat tonight.
“This was not the result we wanted, but we have only just begun and have a long way to go,” he said in a speech.
The only question is whether the victory is enough to form that government. Netanyahu’s coalition of right-wing and religious parties seems to have gained some 59 seats based on the exit polls.
The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, has 120 seats, so the Netanyahu coalition has two seats too few for a majority. The Gantz coalition comes to 55 seats.
The elections were the third parliamentary elections in Israel in a year. In the previous two, Netanyahu and Gantz were unable to form a government and a new stalemate threatens on the basis of the current exit polls.
The turnout was 65.6 percent, the highest in 21 years and almost two percent higher than in the previous elections in September.