Netanyahu Falls One Seat Shy Of Majority, Fourth Election Possible

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/GPO Amos Ben Gershom

In Israel’s third election in the span of a year, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured enough votes to form the next government, according to exit polls.

Netanyahu’s coalition of right-wing and religious political parties won 60 seats in the Knesset on Monday, bringing them just one seat shy of holding a majority.

After viewing the results, Netanyahu tweeted “thank you” in Hebrew.

Later on, he also tweeted that this election was “a huge victory for Israel.” On the campaign trail, Netanyahu argued that his track record of keeping the country safe, plus his role in helping build a booming economy centered around technology, were key reasons for Israelis to vote for him rather than his opponent, Benny Gantz.

The Jerusalem Post reports that sources in the Likud Party said Netanyahu will attempt to organize a new government before his criminal trial begins on March 17. In January, Netanyahu was indicted on three charges of corruption including charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of public trust.

Gantz took to Twitter after his loss. “Thanks to the thousands of activists and over one million voters who chose Blue and White,” he tweeted in Hebrew on Monday night. “I will continue to struggle for our ideology for you.”

This was Israel’s largest voter turnout in an election since 1999. In that election, Netanyahu, who had been Prime Minister since 1996, lost to Ehud Barak.

Netanyahu plans to form a nationalist government that is focused on dealing with the many threats facing the Jewish state.

However, there is a chance that Israel could hold yet another election