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Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israel's election committee has published the results of Monday's election showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing bloc with 58 seats — three short of the parliamentary majority needed to form a government.

Why it matters: Worse still for Netanyahu, particularly in the wake of what looked like a remarkable victory, a majority might now be uniting behind an effort to effectively end his political career. His corruption trial, meanwhile, is set to begin in just 12 days.

Breaking it down: Netanyahu's Likud Party won the most seats in Monday's election, with 36. Allied right-wing parties won an additional 22.

  • The Blue and White Party, led by Netanyahu's centrist rival Benny Gantz, won 33 seats. The liberal Labor Party won another 7 seats.
  • The Joint List of predominantly Arab Parties had its best-ever showing, winning 15 seats.
  • Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's party, which split from Netanyahu in 2018 and had been refusing to align with either major party, won 7.

The big picture: Israeli politics have been deadlocked for nearly a year, with Netanyahu and Gantz both failing to form majority governments after the two previous elections.

Driving the news: But this time could be different. Lieberman, who previously pushed for a Netanyahu-Gantz unity government, now says he will recommend Gantz to form the next government.

  • If the Joint List does the same, that will put 62 seats behind Gantz, at least temporarily, and make it likely that President Reuven Rivlin will offer him a mandate to form a government.
  • For now, the Joint List has said it's open to supporting Gantz but only if he makes "a change truly in the direction of peace and equality."
  • If he does get the first crack at forming a government, Gantz will also control the parliamentary agenda during that process.

Between the lines: That's crucial because Lieberman has also said he'd support a bill to prevent anyone under criminal indictment from forming a government. That's clearly targeted at Netanyahu.

  • If an anti-Netanyahu coalition does come together in the coming days, it will be deeply unstable.
  • Lieberman's party and the Joint List are bitter rivals, and it's unclear whether they'd be willing to unite behind a Gantz government.
  • But even a temporary alliance could be enough to ensure that if Israel is forced to hold an unprecedented fourth election, Netanyahu won't be a candidate for prime minister.
  • Netanyahu has no clear path to the majority needed to form a government, though he's pulled rabbits out of his hat before.

The bottom line: It's still far too early to declare the end of Netanyahu's reign as Israel's longest-serving prime minister. But it's becoming increasingly clear what the end might look like.

Go deeper

56 mins ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: It means former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

2 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.