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Stalemate in Israeli election, as Netanyahu, rivals lack majority to form government

If no party is able to form a government, Israel will have to hold another election, the nation's fifth in two years.

Published: March 25, 2021 11:04am

Updated: March 25, 2021 2:50pm

Israel's fourth election in the last two years will probably end in a stalemate between current Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a coalition of parties attempting to unseat him.

In order to form a government, a party or parties in Israel must hold 61 out of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Netanyahu's Likud party is in the lead with 30 seats, reaching a total of 52 votes with other parties in his coalition, according to Haaretz.

The anti-Netanyahu bloc, with 57 total votes, is currently closer to gaining the 61 seats needed to form a coalition government. Yesh Atid, a centrist party founded in 2012, has the most votes of the bloc with 17.

Gideon Sa'ar, a former Netanyahu ally who split with the party to form the rival New Hope Party, is also running for election. In a statement  Wednesday, Sa'ar said Netanyahu had no chance of winning and forming a Likud-dominant government.

Currently, there are two undecided parties that could make or break both coalition's chances of victory. The right-wing Yamina, or United Right Party, and an Islamist political party called "United Arab List."

The United Arab List Party has the same roots as the Palestinian group Hamas that runs the Gaza strip, according to The New York Times. With its four seats won in the recent election, the party — whose platform is centered around creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital, the dismantling of all Israeli settlements, and a Palestinian "right to return" to Israel — could be the key to helping either coalition secure the votes necessary. 

The Islamist party has yet to decide in favor of one party or another, saying they would only "support a government from the outside."

The election is still ongoing, with votes expected to finish being counted by Thursday or Friday. If neither party gets enough votes or doesn't form a government within the next 42 days, then Israel will hold a fifth election, according to Reuters.

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