10 April 2019

Netanyahu wins fifth term and remains as Prime Minister

On 9 April, elections were held in Israel to choose a new Prime Minister. Benny Gantz’ centrist Blue and White party and Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party were both quick to claim victory, calling a tie when they won 35 seats apiece. However, the right-wing bloc led by Netanyahu mustered more support and got a majority of 65 seats in the 120-seat parliament, known as Knesset. Netanyahu had the upper hand thanks to the coalition between his party Likud and several smaller nationalist, religious and far-right parties, which gave him a majority of seats at the Knesset. Once a final tally is released, Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, will hold consultations with political parties next week to ask them to recommend a prime minister before tasking the winning candidate with forming a majority coalition government. President Trump congratulated Netanyahu and told reporters that Netanyahu’s re-election “improved the chances of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.” Nevertheless, Palestinians see this new mandate as a setback in the constitution of a state of its own and as a way to continue Israel’s “policies of apartheid, colonization, and racism” said Diana Buttu, a Palestinian Haifa-based analyst and former legal adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators.

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