14:10 GMT +321 August 2019
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    A man walks by an election campaign billboard showing Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud party leader, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, April 7, 2019

    Likud Party Loses One Seat After Recount, But Netanyahu Still to Form Gov't

    © AP Photo / Oded Balilty
    Middle East
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    The results show that Netanyahu's Likud Party won 35 seats. At the same time, Kahol Lavan, the party led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, gained a similar number of seats in the parliament.

    A final vote count after the election which took place last week in Israel showed that the right-wing Likud Party managed to secure one less seat than the previously released data suggested. However, this does not strip Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his right to form the next government.

    Commenting on his victory, Netanyahu said that he wanted "all parts of Israeli society, Jews and non-Jews as one, to be an integral part of the tremendous success story known as the State of Israel."

    Meanwhile, the recount shows that the United Torah Judaism Party managed to win an extra seat in the Knesset. The results for other parties remained unchanged in comparison with last week's initial results.

    READ MORE: Likud's PR Firm Boasts Hidden Cameras Lowered Arab Voter Turnout

    On the same day, Israeli media reported that Benjamin Netanyahu secured the support of the parliamentary majority, which recommended Israel's leader to form the new government. 

    According to The Times of Israel newspaper, President Reuven Rivlin received recommendations from 10 of the 11 parties elected to the parliament.

    Thus, incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu enjoys the backing of 65 members of the parliament, while his rival from the Blue and White political alliance, Benny Gantz, has been supported by 45 lawmakers.

    Netanyahu was backed by lawmakers from his Likud party, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, right-wing United Torah Judaism alliance, Union of Right-Wing Parties, Kulanu centrist party, and Yisrael Beytenu secular party. The latter is headed by Avigdor Lieberman who resigned from his defense minister post in November.

    Gantz, who served as chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 2011-2015, in turn, received support from his centrist Blue and White alliance, left-wing Meretz party and the Israeli Labor Party.

    Rivlin is due to meet with representatives of one more party, Raam-Balad, to discuss the candidate for the post of prime minister. This is unlikely to change the situation since the party holds only four seats in the parliament, according to the results of the recent parliamentary elections.

    This comes after Israel held a parliamentary election on 9 April after which both Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan head Benny Gantz claimed victory in and announced their plans to form a cabinet.

    On the next day after the election, US President Donald Trump said he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory and reinforce American support for the Jewish state.


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