After the parliamentary elections in Israel, the conservative prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger Benny Gantz from Center Alliance Blues White declares both winners. "The right-wing block led by Likud has clearly won," said Netanyahu. "I thank the Israeli citizens for their confidence, and I will start tonight building a right-wing government with my natural partners." Gantz and his teammate Jair Lapid declared: "We have won! (…) This election has a clear winner and a clear loser, Netanyahu has promised and lost 40 seats."
According to initial forecasts, a close result is emerging. Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has 33 to 36 seats on Israeli broadcasters and 36 to 37 seats on Benny Gantz's mid-blue and white coalition. But that's not enough to govern alone. For a government majority, at least 61 out of 120 mandates are needed.
Among the possible alliances, the forecasts are more in favor of the incumbent prime minister: two broadcasters clearly saw the right wing with Netanyahu's conservative Likud, the strict religious parties and the right-wing parties with 64-66 seats. The center-left camp with Gantz's blue-white coalition, the Labor Party, the left Merez party and the Arab parties received only 54 to 56 seats. In another TV station both camps each came to 60 seats.
Calculated possible is also a grand coalition of Likud and blue-white. However, both Netanyahu and Gantz had said in the election campaign that they would not sit in government with each other.
President Reuven Rivlin has two weeks to decide who to commission. He calls for recommendations from all parliamentary groups for the office of Prime Minister. Who then has the greatest opportunities for the formation of a government coalition, initially receives four weeks time. Usually the order receives the chairman of the group with the most votes. A new government is expected until the beginning of June.
Netanyahu had promised a few days before the election to annex parts of the West Bank.