Israeli election too close to call as Netanyahu hopes to keep office

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JERUSALEM- (CNN) It could take several days before an official result in the second Israeli elections in five months are published.

But all of the indications are that there is a neck and neck run between Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz perhaps showing around 32 seats each.

Now interestingly one of the other developments is the Joint List predominantly Arab voters — that’s 20 percent of the population inside Israel — are looking to gain some 12 to 15 seats which, if there was a government of national unity involving Blue and White and the Likud, would mean that you had an opposition in Israel for the first time that is led by an Arab.

But, and it’s a very big but indeed, it will only be a consequence of coalition horse trading that can produce any kind of a governing coalition here.

Reuben Rivlin the president here well over the next few days be calling in political leaders from all the different parties assessing who is most likely to be able to form a government and then inviting them to do so. They will then have up to six weeks to prove that they can put a government coalition together.

Now the problem is that back in April after the first elections this year Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do just that.

The kingmaker really once again emerging here is Avigdor Lieberman whose party is expected to get 8 to 10 seats in the 120 seat Knesset. He has called for a government of national unity. So has Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, and to some extent so has Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he wanted to have a sort of a Zionist alliance heading off the non-Zionist parties and by that he means the Arab Joint List.

But all of this together at this historic moment in Israel would indicate that Benjamin Netanyahu is not going to easily emerge as Israel’s new Prime Minister and the process may run into for him his own court cases. He faces three corruption charges, three different cases and they’re likely, the cases, to be open before any kind of a government has been formed here in Israel.

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