Netanyahu-led coalition wins decisively

Netanyahu-led coalition wins decisively

Netanyahu-led coalition wins decisively

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared an "incredible victory" as emerging results for Israel's general election on Tuesday showed Likud with a clear lead.

President Trump has forged no deeper political bond than the one he has with Benjamin Netanyahu and right now, it's unclear if Trump's push to get him reelected has paid off.

However, there are indications that Netanyahu has a clearer path to forming a coalition government with other right-wing, far-right and religious parties.

It should also be noted that an official, limited sovereignty would not make a very big difference in the everyday life of Israeli settlers.

The race between Gantz's and Netanyahu's coalitions attracted global attention. The president was on a flight to Texas. Such a move could end any chance of creating an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. "I'd like to congratulate him on a well-thought-out race".

Gantz has vowed to pursue peace but has stopped short of endorsing Palestinian statehood.

"The president can see the picture and should call on the victor to form the next government".

Netanyahu, meanwhile, says President Trump has called to congratulate him on his election win from Air Force One.

Two exit polls predicted a parliamentary majority for a Netanyahu-led bloc of rightist parties.

The vote had been expected to be close, even with Netanyahu facing potential corruption charges.

He faces possible indictment in three graft cases, and has denied wrongdoing in all three. No party has won a majority since Israel's first election, in 1949.

As he walked onto the stage to chanting crowds, he planted a kiss on the lips of his wife Sara.

Mr Netanyahu's campaign has been dogged by allegations of corruption and polls suggest Likud is under threat of being sidestepped in results.

"Yes, friends, I will be the prime minister of everyone and not just those who voted for me".

Should Mr Netanyahu retain the helm, he will in July become the longest-serving Israeli prime minister, overtaking the country's founding father, David Ben-Gurion. Legal experts expect at least some charges to be filed. Allies could even try to enact legislation protecting Netanyahu from prosecution as a sitting leader.

Netanyahu's message of unity was a sharp contrast from his campaign theme in which he accused Gantz of conspiring with Arab parties to topple him.

As CNN discovered when it visited a stronghold of his party Likud, in the desert town of Beersheva several weeks ago, that message resonates strongly with many blue-collar Israelis.

Israel's 21 per cent Arab minority saw its parties lose seats. "One can not understate our achievement in this election: In a matter of weeks we established a party fit to rule, and part of the DNA of a ruling party is never to give up". But some analysts believe that Washington's relatively less controversial Golan Heights recognition may have paved the way.

Although Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in occupied East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank and living under Israeli siege in the Gaza Strip do not have voting right in the Israeli elections, it's the Palestinian population that will be most affected by the new government. He also pledged to annex West Bank settlements, a step that could snuff out any remaining hopes for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu's pre-election promise was widely seen as an attempt to draw right-wing votes rather than a change of policy.

Commenting on the election, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "Israelis have voted to preserve the status quo".

"The struggle against Iran's efforts to subvert peace and security in the region continues", Bolton said.

The peace plan is being developed by Mr Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner. If it includes Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, Netanyahu's probable far-right coalition allies will likely object.

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