Final Election Results: Bennett Wiped Out; Netanyahu’s Likud Gains One Seat

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a fifth term on Wednesday with Benny Gantz conceding the election after more than 98 percent of the votes gave the right-wing bloc a lead of 9-10 seats, according to the latest results.

>> Israel election 2019: Full coverage

Netanyahu’s Likud tied with Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party with 35 seats each. Almost all right-wing parties have said they would recommend to the president that Netanyahu form the next ruling coalition.

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Early Thursday, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s Hayamin Hehadash party underwent a political rollercoaster when it was announced by the Central Election Committee that it had passed the electoral threshold. 

However, later data suggested that the party didn’t get enough votes to join the Knesset. It remains unclear whether or not the right-wing outfit, which Bennett and Shaked formed recently in a surprise move, survived the swift election. 

In the right-wing bloc, the parties that made it into the Knesset are Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, Union of Right-Wing Parties and Kulanu. In the center-left bloc, the parties that made it into the Knesset are Kahol Lavan, Hadash-Ta’al, Labor, Meretz and United Arab List-Balad. 

Turnout in the Arab community was one of the lowest in history. Netanyahu’s Likud party provided activists with 1,200 hidden cameras "to monitor" Arab polling stations — a move that prompted Israel’s Central Elections Committee to file a police complaint.

11:59 P.M. Election committee chair says results may still change

Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Hanan Melcer said that while the results published Thursday night went through a highly scrutinized inspection process, they are not the final results that will be published next Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, United Torah Judaism and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Hayamin Hehadash party asked the committee not to publish the results as voting irregularities were still being examined.

Melcer said he rejected their petitions since "it was clear these are ‘temporary’ results, subject to change."

11:50 P.M. Central Elections Committee announces final results

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has 36 seats in the next Knesset, Israel’s Central Elections Committee announces after a recount of some votes. Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s Hayamin Hehadash party remained out of the Knesset.

Preliminary results gave Likud a seat less, on par with Kahol Lavan’s 35 seats, which remained unchanged.

United Torah Judaism lost one seat, compared with preliminary results, giving it seven out of 120 Knesset seats. All other parties’ results remained unchanged.

7:54 P.M. Far-right party attempts to join with Haredis ahead of coalition talks

Naftali Bennett speaking in Hayamin Hehadsh headquarters in Bnei Brak, Israel, April 9, 2019.

The chair of Habayit Hayehudi reached out to heads of Ultra-Orthodox parties, proposing a "technical bloc" ahead of coalition negotiations. Currently, Habayit Hayehudi is part of the Right-wing Union, a coalition of religious Zionist groups, including the National Union lead by Bezalel Smotrich and followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

7:39 P.M. Central Elections Committee says final results expected by midnight

Israel’s Central Elections Committee said it is working to correct some faults in processing some 23,000 votes from 35 polling stations, and will publish final results by midnight Israel time. 

The committee explained that some votes were not included in the initial count due to a computing error, stemming from wrong data input on number of voters.

7:25 P.M. U.S., European, South American leaders congratulate Netanyahu

Some world leaders have already congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his election win, even though it is customary to do so only after a government is formed.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, Hundruan President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov all called Netanyahu after preliminary results were published.

6:25 P.M. Human right organization calls for investigation into Likud hidden cameras

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel urges Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and Israel Police to launch a criminal investigation into hundreds of hidden cameras places in polling stations in Arab Communities ahead of Election Day.

The hidden cameras "harmed the basic principles of the election process … which state that elections would be free and secret," attorney Sawsan Zaher of Adalah said.

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