Benjamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli prime minister, was in a position to win a fourth consecutive term as leader on Wednesday, with 94 percent of the vote counted. But the race was too narrow, as his main rival, Benny Gantz, announced victory, although he later tempered expectations for Israel Election Results 2019.
When votes are fully counted, President Reuven Rivlin will have to choose the leader of the party, who is believed to have the best chance of gathering a parliamentary majority.
The Likud party led by Netanyahu and the Blue and White Gantz Party were running their necks, but the larger bloc of blocs supporting each party gave the Likud a clear advantage in the ability to form a governing coalition.
“I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart,” Netanyahu told his supporters and his wife Sarah at his side, an incredible victory.
A few hours ago, Gantz told a flag-waving crowd that it was a “historic” day for Israel.
“In the elections there are winners and losers, we are the winners,” he said. “We won and we will continue to win.”
It is certain that Gantz, the former army chief of staff who entered politics for the first time late last year, has posed an enormous challenge, even if he fails to secure the post of prime minister.
“His movement began three months ago and he seems to have been able to win many seats, such as the Likud Party, which has been in place for more than 40 years,” said Meir Rubin, executive director of the Kohlt right-wing policy forum.
Exit polls predicted a tough race with no clear winner, prompting Mr Netanyahu and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz to declare victory on Tuesday night.
“It will be a right-wing government, but I will be prime minister for all,” Netanyahu told his cheerful supporters as Israel Election Results 2019.
“I was very touched that the people of Israel gave me a vote of confidence for the fifth time and a vote of greater confidence than the previous elections.
“I intend to be prime minister for all citizens of Israel: right, left, Jews, non-Jews, all citizens of Israel.”
No party won a majority in the 120-seat Israeli parliament and has always had coalition governments as Israel Election Results 2019.