Israel Elections: Benny Gantz challenges Benjamin Netanyahu

World Today

Israel voted on Tuesday and exit poll results show a race too close to call.

CGTN’s Stephanie Freid reports.

A few parties have strengthened their numbers since the last round of voting in April, which could be significant when it comes to forming a government. The overall mood and tone have also shifted in the past five months.

As Israel’s exit poll numbers rolled in, one thing was clear: neither Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party nor Benny Gantz’s Blue and White alliance have the majority needed to form a government.

It means the party leader tasked with forming a new government will also have the challenge to cut deals with potential coalition partners.

Enter former Benjamin Netanyahu aide Avigdor Lieberman, referred to by many as “the kingmaker,” someone with great influence who is not a viable candidate. The party Lieberman chooses to align with will likely be the party to form a coalition.

In this round of voting, Netanyahu’s Likud Party appeared to lose support while the Arab-led Joint List gained several parliament seats.

The next phase is potential coalition partners will meet with Israel’s president to recommend their preference between the leading parties.

Based on the recommendations, the president will appoint either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz to form a coalition.

More significant than tonight’s numbers will be whether the leader of the party tasked with forming the next coalition government is able to do so. If not, Israel will go to a third, unprecedented election.