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No clear winner: Israel could be in for fifth election

The day after voting, the political deadlock in Israel persists, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the bloc opposing him empowered to compose a government.
A Likud party supporter kisses a flag with a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the exit polls on March 23, 2021 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hoping for a decisive victory in yesterday’s election, but he did not get it. After the fourth election in just two years, Israeli society is as divided as ever. In the likely final results, Netanyahu will be two seats short of forming a homogeneous right-ultra-Orthodox coalition. Together with his religious and ultra-Orthodox partners, the Likud can only assemble a 59-Knesset seat bloc.

His opponents on the center-left have no way to form a government either. If nothing major changes when the final vote count is over (expected on Friday morning, March 26), and assuming that none of the opposition parties break their promise not to join a Netanyahu coalition, Israel is headed for yet another election, its fifth in under two and half years. Netanyahu will remain in power until then, but he will be on shaky ground.

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