New York Times - September 18, 2019
A day after Israel’s general election — the second in five months — there is still uncertainty about the final outcome, but it appears the long reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be coming to an end.
As expected, neither Mr. Netanyahu nor his main rival, the former army chief Benny Gantz, a centrist, won enough votes to claim an outright majority in the Israeli Parliament. Crucially, neither seems to have a straightforward path to forming a governing coalition with at least 61 of the 120 lawmakers in Parliament.
That means the contest for prime minister will be decided not by the vote tally but by coalition talks, and Mr. Gantz and his Blue and White party seem likely to be given the first chance to form a government. The support of a smaller third party, Yisrael Beiteinu, could prove essential, putting the power to decide the future Israeli government into the hands of that party’s leader, Avigdor Liberman.
Here’s what you need to know.
Netanyahu’s reign appears to be fading.
Mr. Netanyahu, who has led Israel for the past decade, had been aiming for a record fifth term in office, but his chances look increasingly slim based on the early results of Tuesday’s vote. The right-wing nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties of his presumed bloc failed to gain enough seats to provide him a majority, and Mr. Liberman is not inclined to put him over the top.
... Mr. Netanyahu failed to produce a governing coalition after the April elections, and chose to send Israelis back to the polls rather than give someone else a chance to form a government. He had hoped to achieve a stronger mandate this time around, with the support of smaller parties on the religious right, but he seems to have made no gains and the support of those groups seems unlikely to be enough to form a governing coalition. ...
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