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Benjamin Netanyahu will return as Israel’s PM

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power, after current caretaker PM Yair Lapid conceded defeat.
Benjamin Netanyahu will return as Israel's PM

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power, after current caretaker PM Yair Lapid conceded defeat.

Netanyahu will lead an alliance of parties to secure a majority of 64 seats out of the 120. Lapid’s coalition won 51 seats.

It will result in one of the most right-wing governments in Israel’s history.

Who is Netanyahu?

Netanyahu is Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He held office from 1996-1999 and again from 2009-2021, before he was ousted by an alliance of parties across the political spectrum. Netanyahu is also known for holding nationalist views.

Netanyahu is currently on trial for a range of corruption charges including fraud and accepting bribes, which he denies.

How elections work

The 120 seats in Israel’s Parliament are assigned to political parties based on how much of the vote they get. Parties must receive at least 3.25% of votes to get any seats.

No party has ever won a majority of seats on its own, so once results are final there are typically several days of negotiations before a Prime Minister is agreed among the parties.

Results

Netanyahu is part of the Likud Party, which won 32 seats. To form government, he is forming an alliance with three other parties – the ultra-Orthodox Shas (11 seats), the United Torah Judaism (7 seats) parties, and the far-right Religious Zionism group (14 seats).

Amongst the leadership of the Religious Zionism group is Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right politician who has previously been convicted of inciting and supporting terrorism.

Ben-Gvir has also called for the deportation of Arab lawmakers and greater immunity for Israeli soldiers fighting Palestinians. He is expected to ask to join Netanyahu’s Cabinet.

One of the remaining uncertainties is which of the Arab parties will reach the 3.25% required to gain seats.

Palestinians make up about a fifth of Israel’s population, but those in The Occupied Territories (the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip) cannot vote and many others choose not to because they do not wish to legitimise the elections. Historically, turnout amongst eligible Palestinian Israelis is between 40-50%.

Arab parties Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am each won five seats, while Balad did not cross the 3.25% threshold.

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