Right-wing bloc's success gives PM clear path to form new government, despite Likud tying in seats with Gantz's Blue and White; New Right and Zehut fail to cross threshold.
Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on path for victory in Israel´s elections on Wednesday after almost complete results put him in position to form a right-wing coalition and further extend his long tenure in office.
Clouded by looming corruption indictments, Netanyahu is seeking a fourth consecutive term and a fifth overall, which would make him Israel's longest-serving leader, surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion.
He thanked the US President for his "tremendous support for Israel".
Israel's president will consult with the leaders of every party that won seats about their preference for prime minister, and will then choose the legislator who he believes has the best chance of putting together a coalition. The former military chief Mr Gantz ran, essentially, as the man who was not Mr Netanyahu but could match him for "toughness" on security.
Final results were expected on April 11, with ballots for soldiers and other special categories of voters yet to be counted.
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Rightwing Union leader MK Bezalel Smotrich on Tuesday night declared that his party would hold Netanyahu's feet to the fire on his sovereignty promise, even if all he had meant was to win the settlers' vote.
Though both parties were well short of a majority in the 120-seat parliament, the polls showed Likud and its religious and nationalist allies controlling a solid majority.
"Things can change, but in any case the rightwing bloc won", Meshi Sivani, 52 and wearing a Likud t-shirt, said at Netanyahu's post-election party.
Netanyahu will likely seek a coalition similar to his current government, with ultranationalist and Jewish Orthodox parties. "There will be a right-wing government, but I intend to be the prime minister of all the citizens of Israel, right and left, Jews and non-Jews, I care about everyone, that's how it was and that's how it will be". General Benny Gantz has stepped into the running with his Blue and White alliance, hoping to snatch power from under the current Prime Minister's feet.
Netanyahu may have a win on his hands, but he now has to form a coalition government. Coalition talks are already underway, but it could take weeks for Netanyahu's discussions with his various allies to produce a working government, The Guardian noted.
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But "King Bibi", as some have called him, now faces the prospect of becoming the first sitting prime minister to be indicted.
How do Israeli elections work?
Many of its members oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. We will not back down from our public duty to represent over a million people who asked us for something different.
- Hadash, headed by Ayman Odeh, is a secular Arab-led party with communist roots that ran with Ahmed Tibi's Taal.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said he hoped that Israel's elections could help bring peace but senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Wednesday that the results showed otherwise. Legal experts expect at least some charges to be filed.
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and claimed he is the victim of a witch hunt.
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A well-informed United Nations diplomat said late on Friday that Haftar's forces were reported to be on the outskirts of Tripoli. Gen Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) troops seized the south of Libya and its oil fields earlier this year.