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Israeli PM poised for record 5th term

April 10, 2019
Jerusalem:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to secure a record fifth term in office on Wednesday after more than 95 per cent of the votes gave the right-wing bloc a lead over the left in the general election, the media reported.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah said they were not surprised by the results of the general election in Israel and expressed concern over the rise of Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc.

US President Donald Trump said Netanyahu’s re-election was a “good sign for peace”.

With 97 per cent of the votes in Tuesday’s contest counted, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party was tied with ex-military chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance with 35 seats each. But the Prime Minister’s right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc held a decisive lead and he was thus en route to forming a majority governing coalition.

Likud and its right-wing allies were set to be the largest bloc with 65 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, the Times of Israel reported. The daily said that Gantz’s party had insufficient support from other parties to prevent Netanyahu staying in power for what will be a fifth term.

The figures come as the 69-year-old Prime Minister faces corruption allegations. The hearing is expected to take place in July and the decision on the final indictment will come some six months later.

However, the election result means Netanyahu could become Israel’s longest-serving Premier, overtaking Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion. The final results were expected by Friday.

“Israelis have voted to maintain the status quo, as far as the occupation of Palestine,” said Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.

IANS