PM rival Gantz congratulates Netanyahu after final results

PM rival Gantz congratulates Netanyahu after final results

As of press time, with the unofficial vote tally almost complete, Netanyahu's Likud party and its smaller nationalist and orthodox-religious coalition partners looked to have secured a comfortable majority in parliament, besting the Blue and White coalition led by centrist former army general Benny Gantz. He has held power consecutively for the past decade, and also was prime minister from 1996-9, and would thus be starting his fifth term in office; by July, he would overtake David Ben-Gurion as Israel's longest serving prime minister.

Gantz and his potential allies trail far behind and on Friday he called Netanyahu to congratulate him and send greetings for next week's Passover Jewish festival.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to re-election yesterday, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority and his main challenger conceding defeat.

Rivlin, whose role is otherwise ceremonial, then picks the candidate he believes has the best chance of assembling a parliamentary majority, and ask that leader to form a government within 42 days.

"But I can say that U.S. President Donald Trump has exerted big efforts to promote Netanyahu as the upcoming prime minister", the expert added.

Sputnik: We have 99 percent* of the votes counted; what do you think?

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange main indexes were up almost 1 percent in late trading on Wednesday, displaying confidence in a veteran prime minister who has overseen a humming economy and blunted various security threats, including from Syria. While his coalition partners are willing to support him now because of his command of Israel's right-wing constituency, that support could be imperilled if charges of bribery or breach of trust are handed down by Israel's Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit.

"It is a night of colossal victory", the 69-year-old Netanyahu told cheering supporters in a late-night speech at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv after Tuesday's vote.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the task is most likely to fall to incumbent premier Benjamin Netanyahu following Tuesday's elections.

Washington's recognition of Jersualem as Israel's capital and the Golan as part of Israel, is a precursor to the US's new and, as yet, secret peace plan that Mr Netanyahu could yet seal as his lasting legacy.

"Trump warmly congratulated (me) and the Israeli people", Netanyahu tweeted.

"He's been more of a status quo-maintenance politician for many years, now faced with some momentous decisions", Shapiro said.

And as Saree Makdisi, a professor of English at UCLA, wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed on Thursday, Netanyahu's victory only cements the "apartheid reality" of what Israel has become under under the right-wing leader. We are talking about no less than 400 settlements (housing at least 400,000 settlers), all deemed illegal under worldwide law, as they violate the law of occupation.

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