The first exit results of Tuesday’s (23) elections in Israel show that Likud, the party of current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, wins between 31 and 33 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, which leads the bloc in its favor to add 53. to 54 seats.
Há Futuro, the main party in the anti-Netanyahu bloc, is expected to win between 16 and 18 seats, with the bloc against the prime minister totaling 59 elected officials.
To be able to govern, you have to get 61 seats. The two sides must therefore form alliances – and the Yemina party, which is expected to have 7-8 seats, plays an important role.
In the fourth election in two years in the country, the Prime Minister is trying to get his sixth term. For this, we must sew supports and obtain a simple majority in the House. Final results, however, are not expected until the end of the week.
More than electing parliamentarians, the election is a personal referendum of the Prime Minister, who, for 12 years in power, has been the oldest in power since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Bibi, as one calls him, still faces three corruption charges.
Its direct involvement in the advance purchase of vaccines is in its favor – the country has already applied the two doses of the immunizer to 52% of its population. Thus, Netanyahu is held responsible for the success, although for some he has turned a blind eye to political allies, such as the ultra-Orthodox, who have been slow to comply with the sanitary instructions.
He also flaunts the signing of Abraham’s so-called diplomatic normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, in practice an anti-Iranian alliance that was negotiated by former US President Donald Trump.
Analysts have divided the parties into two blocs: the pro-Bibi, with a projection of 51 seats, and the anti-Bibi, with 56. Both would need the seats with two acronyms, Yemina and United Arab List, which could to be joined on either side, to reach the key number of 61 and form the government.
It should be noted that in the bloc against the prime minister, the names of the left are united, as was already common, and some of the right, who have grown weary of the cult of Netanyahu by a good part of their supporters. They say the prime minister is only thinking of getting rid of the accusations and that he may even harm democracy by doing so.
While going to the polls seems to have become more frequent than usual, voters found a slightly different scenario than when they last participated in the poll, in March of last year.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Hadas Vinograd-Haber, 27, told AFP news agency he voted surrounded by what he called aliens in special costumes, on a special electoral circuit for the first Israelis placed in quarantine. She had just returned from Italy, then the European epicenter of the health crisis, and Israeli officials denied she could leave for 14 days.
The only thing she was allowed to do outside the house was vote. “People were behaving like crazy, a few meters from others,” he recalls. “Like it’s the end of the world, like there’s no point in voting anyway, since there won’t be a tomorrow.”
A year later, the young lawyer voted as an ordinary citizen and vaccinated. He went to his usual constituency, a school in central Jerusalem, where he lives, and only the light blue mask on his face reveals the persistence of the pandemic.
This year, around 700 special polling stations have been set up across the country for people in quarantine or who have likely come in contact with infected people or have returned from abroad and infected people themselves.
Police were at these locations to ensure that Covid-19 preventive measures were followed, including at Ben-Gurion Airport, which is intended for voters under quarantine.
Voting day was also marked by the launch of a rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the IDF said. A military spokesperson told AFP that the projectile landed in a wasteland in the south of the country.
Shortly before the so far unclaimed shooting, Netanyahu was in the town of Bersheeva, about 50 km from the Gaza Strip in the Negev Desert, calling for a vote from the locals.
The prime minister traveled to the Gaza border region to try to mobilize the Bedouin population of the Negev, after speaking with Mansur Abas, leader of a local Arab party.
Netanyahu’s approach to these leaders came as a surprise. For years, he had assured that he would never make an alliance with this minority of the country (21%). During the campaign, he traveled to Arab villages to demand direct votes for Likud or the Joint List, a party that split after supporting the Prime Minister’s conservative agenda.