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‘Killer instinct’ clinches it for Netanyahu

Faced with a weak and disastrous campaign by Blue and White and its leader, Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the March 2 elections despite initially appearing to be on his way out of the political arena.
A woman casts her ballot as she votes in Israel's national election at a polling station in Tel Aviv, Israel March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Corinna Kern - RC2MBF9DATS2
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He did it again, big time. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started his third election campaign of the past year with the odds against him, weighed down by an indictment on three serious corruption charges and facing an opposition party led by generals spoiling for a fight and surging with deadly momentum. Between the first elections, in April 2019, and the second round, in September, Netanyahu lost five Knesset seats for his right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc and appeared to be fading into political irrelevance. In recent weeks, however, Netanyahu executed a perfect turnaround, achieving a huge, perhaps unprecedented, personal victory.

With 90% of the votes counted, Netanyahu’s Likud has a four-seat advantage over the opposition Blue and White, although it is unclear whether this will suffice to form a coalition government. TV exit polls and the votes counted give the right-wing/ultra-Orthodox bloc 59 seats, two short of the required 61-seat Knesset majority, out of 120 Knesset seats.

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