Sep 18, 2019

Israel's Netanyahu and rival deadlocked after election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters of his Likud party after polls closed in the elections. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and the Blue and White party, led by Benny Gantz, are tied with 32 seats each with more than 85% of votes counted from Tuesday’s election.

The latest: The center-left and right-wing blocs, led by Gantz and Netanyahu respectively, were also roughly tied with 55-56 seats each on Wednesday morning. The Israel Beitenu party, led by former Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman, looks set to win about 10 seats.

Why it matters: Netanyahu has failed to get the right-wing bloc to a 61-seat majority — which would have allowed him to form a government that would grant him immunity from 3 pending corruption indictments.

  • Gantz hasn't won either, so can’t easily form a center-left coalition.

The big picture: The results so far suggest that Avigdor Lieberman is going to be the kingmaker after the election.

  • Lieberman has already announced he wants to form a secular national unity government with Gantz and Netanyahu both included.

Yes, but: Forming a unity government would be very hard because of Netanyahu’s legal situation ahead of a hearing on Oct. 3.

  • Gantz ruled out joining a unity government led by Netanyahu during the campaign.
  • Netanyahu says he won’t join a unity government led by Gantz.

The bottom line: If both Gantz and Netanyahu stick to their positions, Israel will be thrown into an even deeper political crisis — and potentially an election for the third time in a year.   

Go deeper: Read Axios' Israel election preview

Go deeper

Netanyahu pushes unity government to avoid fall from power

Bejamin Netanyahu addresses supporters on election night. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

If the Benjamin Netanyhahu era is coming to an end, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister is going out swinging.

By the numbers: Netanyahu’s Likud party is on course for 31 seats after Tuesday’s election, with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party winning 33, per Haaretz. But Gantz’s center-left bloc (57 seats) and Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc (55) are both short of the 61 seats needed for a majority.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Israeli president gives Netanyahu first shot to form government

Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 28 days to form a new government after negotiations for a unity government with Benny Gantz, leader of an opposition center-left bloc, broke down.

Why it matters: Netanyahu would need 61 members of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, to support his government. His right-wing block won just 55 seats in the Sept. 17 election, though, and he has no clear path to a majority.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019

Netanyahu and rival Gantz meet for first time since Israel elections

Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Benny Gantz. Photos: Menahem Kahana/AFP; Amir Levy via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz met on Monday for the first time since this month's elections.

Why it matters: The 2 leaders were summoned to a trilateral meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem in an attempt to break the political deadlock and start negotiations on forming a unity government. The president of Israel is largely a ceremonial post, but Rivlin does have the authority to give a mandate to either Gantz or Netanyahu to form the next government.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019