With 91% of the votes counted, we still have no really good or clear idea of what the actual election outcomes in Israel are going to be for the next government of Israel. Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan Party still has a one seat edge over Bibi’s Likud, with 32 to 31 projected seats. However, as night gave way to morning in Israel the potential coalition politics both got clearer and murkier at the same time. Both Ayelet Shaked who runs Yamina – basically what would happen if you gave Ann Coulter a political party – and the Joint Lists Ayman Odeh have both stated they’re headed to the opposition in the next Knesset. Shaked who is farther right than Bibi wants to present herself and Yamina as the new, better, younger, hipper, and more telegenic Likud against a potential national unity government. Odeh has stated that he wants to be the leader of the opposition. Avigdor Liberman, whose Yisrael Beytenu Party appears to have won 9 seats, is still calling for both a national unity government with Likud, Kahol Lavan, and Yisrael Beytenu.
Here’s the rub. If Shaked won’t support Bibi, then his potential coalition goes from 55 seats to 46 seats. But things get worse for Gantz. If Odeh won’t join or isn’t invited to join in a coalition with Kahol Lavan, Labor, and the Democratic Union, then Gantz’s potential 57 seat coalition drops down to 43 seats. This gives Bibi and his potential coalition more seats, which he’ll use to claim he should be given the opportunity to try to form the next government. Liberman has also said that he will not allow a third election to happen, but his non-negotiable demands, which include both excluding Odeh’s Joint List and that Bibi has to go, may be non-negotiable, but they may also be non-starters. Likud said last night that they were sticking with Bibi, though pressure will build to both keep him and pitch him over the side. It is unclear right now, how much control Bibi can exert to save himself right now, but he has just concluded a meeting with the other right wing parties and the initial reporting is he has shored up support among them, and he has a 55 seat coalition ready to move forward and try to form the next government.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a press statement at 6 p.m., in about half an hour, following his meeting with the senior leadership of the Jewish Home, New Right, United Torah Judaism and Shas parties at his office.
The factions agreed to function as a “bloc” and conduct coalition negotiations together, Likud says.
A Likud source tells The Times of Israel that he is expected to announce the support of all the parties, which will control some 55 Knesset seats according to preliminary election results.
While not enough to form a coalition on its own, Channel 12 reports Netanyahu is hoping that Rivlin will consider the 55-seat bloc as a single party and therefore agree to task the premier with forming the next government for having a bigger faction than the standalone Blue and White party.
Given that Ayelet Shaked’s Yamina Party isn’t mentioned, I don’t see how he gets to 55 seats, but that’s the reporting.
Everything is now clear as mud.