The New Right party led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked failed to win any seats after the Central Elections Committee published final results last night.
The final results are as follows: Likud won 36 seats, Blue White 35 seats, Shas 8 seats, UTJ 7 seats, Hadash-Ta’al 6 seats, Labour 6 seats, Yisrael Beitenu 5 seats, United Right 5 seats, Meretz 4 seats, Kulanu 4 seats, Ra’am-Balad 4 seats. The New Right, Zehut and Gesher all failed to win 3.25 per cent of total valid votes so did not win any seats.
Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett demanded a recount after their hopes of getting into the Knesset via absentee ballots failed. The 200,000 ballots, known as “double envelopes”, include the votes of soldiers, prisoners, hospital patients and Israeli diplomats posted abroad.
A technical error on the Central Elections Committee’s website on Thursday prevented publicly available numbers on the vote count from reflecting the real results of the election, sparking hours of confusion as to whether the soldiers’ votes changed the final results. Shaked and Bennett said that these were still not final results and that they would fight and examine whether the voting and counting processes were conducted properly.
A number of party leaders visited the Central Elections Committee headquarters yesterday to complain of false counts and results that disappeared. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg said: “United Torah Judaism is trying to steal a seat from us. We have reports about political intervention in the vote tally, including ballot boxes that disappeared.”
President Reuven Rivlin is expected to begin meeting party leaders early next week. Each leader will recommend a candidate to whom the President should assign the task of forming the government. It is expected that the President will assign the task to Likud leader and incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will then have 28 days to assemble a coalition. Israeli media have reported that he will hold a meeting with Benny Gantz and Netanyahu and urge them to form a National Unity Government.
The Union Right party has reportedly asked the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and UTJ, to join them in a single bloc in order to have a stronger position when conducting coalition negotiations.