Netanyahu facing oblivion in Israel

Netanyahu facing oblivion in Israel

Benny Gantz's rejection of this offer could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday's election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

The results indicate that each will struggle to form a majority coalition with smaller parties.

Lieberman refuses to sit with Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox religious allies and has called for a broad, secular unity government with Likud and Blue and White.

With some 96.5 percent of all votes in Tuesday's elections having been counted, Blue and White had 33 seats to Likud's 31. He focused his campaign nearly entirely on Netanyahu's personal scandals and divisive tactics, presenting himself as the only clean and responsible alternative, thereby underscoring the lack of any political vehicle through which the working class could express its opposition to the financial elite on whose behalf Israel's militaristic and corrupt politicians speak.

The vote was largely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who this summer surpassed Israel's founding prime minister to become the country's longest-serving leader. Netanyahu called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority after April's vote.

Palestinians, who seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in occupied East Jerusalem, have warned such a move will kill any hopes for peace.

Among the allegations is one that Mr Netanyahu accepted lavish gifts from billionaires to sustain a high-end lifestyle. Ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman could prove to be kingmaker, with the reported results showing his nationalist Yisrael Beitenu with nine seats.

There was no immediate response from Blue and White.

Exit polls earlier presented a similar picture. The paper added that Peres and Shamir rotated as prime ministers from 1984 to 1988.

'The people did not decide between the two blocs. We are not permitted and there is no reason to go to a third election - I am against it.

Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud celebration trailed the centrist Blue and White faction.

In the meantime, Mr Netanyahu stays on, but watch this space.

There was a muted response at Likud's election night headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Both would require major about faces from their party leaders.

"Although the Zionist lists have different agendas, they all agree on the need to continue the occupation and expand settlements", he said.

But Blue and White was "cautiously optimistic" that Israel would get new leadership, spokeswoman Melody Sucharewicz told the Times of Israel.

"It will take some time, but this increases the probability of Likud moving Netanyahu aside and joining a unity government with Blue and White", said Dan Shapiro, former US ambassador to Israel and research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

But Lieberman, on Thursday was unconvinced by Netanyahu's unity offer, which, in a statement, he said was "no more than a trick and an attempt to paint a false picture to prepare public opinion for a third round of elections".

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