"The votes are still being counted in Israel, but it appears
that Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has defied
the odds, pundits and polls to stage a historic last-minute
comeback.Exit polls which are sometimes inaccurate, show Netanyahu’s
party, Likud, with a slight lead over the leftist Zionist coalition
led by Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog. Actual vote counting,
with 67% tallied, show Likud leading its major party opponent
by about 4.8%, but it is unknown where the uncounted 33% are
from, and the totals might be much closer when all votes are
counted. Mr. Herzog’s party was, based on final pre-election
polls, expected to gain four more seats than Likud.No political party has ever won a majority of the 120 seats in
the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. In order to control the
government and name the prime minster, a party leader must
form a coalition from the numerous small parties represented
in the Knesset.Netanyahu, with a dramatic last-minute promise not to allow a
Palestinian state while he was prime minister, apparently was
able to draw votes from other conservative and nationalist
parties. Mr. Herzog, at the last-minute, said the leader of the
party with which his party formed a pre-election coalition
would not serve as prime minister in rotation if they won.
Some analysts said this hurt, rather than helped, Mr. Herzog’s
prospects to form the next Israeli government.Wednesday morning the final results will be in, and both Mr.
Netanyahu and Mr. Herzog will attempt to assemble a majority
of 61 or more members of parliament. The actual naming of
the prime minister is by the elected president of Israel after
rceiving the official result on Thursday. The person he chooses
then has 30 days to form a government. If he or she cannot, the leader
of the party which came in second then has the opportunity to
form a government. If no one can do so, the Israeli president would
then call a new election."
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