Benjamin Netanyahu was on track on Wednesday morning to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. This despite his Likud party winning the same number of seats as his rivals.
Moreover, with 97% of votes counted, both Likud and the Blue and White party, had won 35 seats. This is in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. The party is led by former army general Benny Gantz.
However, results showed Netanyahu would be in a much better position to form a majority governing coalition. The coalition made up of nationalist, far-right and religious allies. Gantz had fewer potential factions to partner with.
Moreover, Netanyahu said Tuesday was “a night of tremendous victory”. Also that he had already started talking to right-wing parties. He said that they had agreed to recommend to the Israeli president that he form the next government.
On the other side, less than an hour prior, Gantz made an equally premature victory cry. He said, “In elections there are losers; in elections there are winners; and we are the ones who won.”
Furthermore, Exit polls had predicted a tight race with no clear winner. This prompting both Mr Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to claim victory on Tuesday night.
“It will be a right-wing government, but I will be prime minister for all,” Mr Netanyahu told cheering supporters. He further added, “I’m very touched that the people of Israel gave me their vote of confidence for the fifth time. And an even bigger vote of confidence than previous elections. I intend to be the prime minister of all citizens of Israel. Right, left, Jews, non-Jews. All of Israel’s citizens.”