Middle East

Jan 23, 2013

Israelis don’t much like Netanyahu, but they’re stuck with him

Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition looks likely to scrape a victory of perhaps 62 seats in the 120-seat Israeli parliament. He faces some tough decisions about who to bring into the fold -- and whether to change direction.

Charles Richardson — Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson

Editor of The World is not Enough

Polls in Israel’s election closed at 7am this morning, Australian eastern time. Results are not yet official, but the exit polls have been supplemented with actual results from sample booths. With the whole country voting as one electorate it’s hard for exit polls to make large errors, although in a close election even one or two seats could make a lot of difference.

With that caveat in place, here’s how it looks for Israel’s next parliament: Likud-Beiteinu, the joint list of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his indicted former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, will have between 31 and 33 seats in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset — down from a combined 42 last time. Jewish Home, the extreme pro-settler party, will have about 12 seats (up five) and the two orthodox parties between them probably 18 (up two). That’s a total of maybe 62 for the right, a bare majority.

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