Israel election: Netanyahu falls short of majority amid vote count
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu could struggle to secure enough seats in parliament to stay in power, incomplete results from Tuesday’s election show.
With almost 90% of votes counted, his right-wing bloc is on course to win 59 seats – two short of the threshold.
In a surprise development, an Arab party which is projected to get five seats could hold the balance of power.
The final outcome will among other things determine the course of Israel’s relations with the Palestinians.
The Arab party, Raam, has not declared whether it will support the efforts of Mr Netanyahu – an unnatural ally – to form a governing coalition or those of the bloc of parties opposed to him remaining in office.
The Netanyahu opponents are projected to win 56 seats, according to the latest tally, and although backing from Raam could give them a majority, they are fragmented and unlikely to be able to agree to work together.
If neither bloc succeeds, the country could face its fifth election since 2019.
Israel’s electoral system, a form of proportional representation, makes it almost impossible for a single party to win an election outright.
According to the Central Election Commission, the prime minister’s right-wing Likud party has won 24.2% of the vote so far and the centrist Yesh Atid party of the main opposition leader, Yair Lapid, is second with 13.9%.