Netanyahu poised to become Israeli PM for 5th time

It would make him the country’s longest-ever serving leader, surpassing David Ben-Gurion

Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be headed toward a historic fifth term as Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday, with close-to-complete unofficial election results giving his right-wing Likud and other nationalist and religious parties a solid majority in parliament.

The outcome affirmed Israel’s continued tilt to the right and further dimmed hopes of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Re-election will also give Netanyahu an important boost as he braces for the likelihood of criminal charges in a series of corruption scandals.

READ MORE: Israel deploys ‘zombie lights’ for mobile-obsessed walkers

With 97.4% of the vote counted, Likud and its traditional political allies were in command of a 65-55 majority in parliament. A couple of small parties were still teetering along the electoral threshold and fighting for their survival, so the final makeup of the next parliament has yet to be decided. Final results were expected Thursday.

Two of his potential allies, hawkish former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and economic-centric Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, have yet to formally confirm they would sit with Netanyahu and could emerge as wildcards. In any case, the country now faces what could be weeks of political negotiations over the composition of a ruling coalition.

But under nearly every scenario, Netanyahu was the big winner.

The long-time Israeli leader had fought a tight, ugly race against centrist ex-military chief Benny Gantz, whose nascent Blue and White party emerged as a viable alternative to Netanyahu’s decade in power. The near-final results showed it deadlocked with Likud at 35 seats. But most of its support seems to have come at the expense of the venerable Labor and leftist Meretz parties, who both earned historic lows in Tuesday’s election.

The spotlight now falls on Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who will consult with party representatives next week before picking the candidate with the best chance of assembling a parliamentary majority. Together with his current Jewish ultra-Orthodox and nationalist partners, Netanyahu seemed to have a clear path toward building a coalition government that has a majority in the 120-seat parliament.

Rivlin said that for the first time, his discussions with party leaders would be broadcast on live television “in the name of transparency.”

With a victory, Netanyahu would capture a fourth consecutive term and fifth overall, which this summer will make him Israel’s longest-ever serving leader, surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion.

Aron Heller, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge council proceeds with riverfront subdivision

Third reading for 26 homes, most in Alouette flood plain.

Whitecaps’ Dalrymple part of soccer panel in Ridge

High Performance Pathway and Grassroots information session set

ElderDog looking to start ‘pawd’ in Maple Ridge

Non-profit group provides support for seniors and canine companions

Knights midgets win in another shutout

Bantams lose close game against Chilliwack

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

VIDEO: Surrey stabbing leaves man with ‘potentially life altering injuries’

Police believe an altercation between two people led to the incident, in the 13700-block of 97A Ave.

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

Most Read