Netanyahu wins election as tension with PA deepens

Netanyahu wins election as tension with PA deepens
2 min read
18 March, 2015
Israel's right-wing Likud party won 30 of the 120 seats in parliament against 24 for the centre-left Zionist Union ensuring that Netanyahu will remain PM, further deepening tensions with the Palestinians.
Likud scored a surprising win amid debates on high-costs of living [AFP]

Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud Party has defied expectations and emerged as the winner of Tuesday's parliamentary elections.

The Israeli prime minister's party was neck-in-neck with the Zionist Union, a centre-left alliance alliance, led by Isaac Herzog, during opinion and exit polls.

Netanyahu said he would reach out to other right-wing  leaders, and invite them to form a government.

Final official results will be announced on the 25th March, but with almost all ballots counted, the Israeli media have already announced that Netanyahu has scored a decisive victory.

It was announced that Likud had won 30 seats while the Labor Party led Zionist Union came in second with 24 seats.

A coalition of Arab parties, the Joint List, was the third-largest party-bloc with 13 seats, followed by the centrist parties Yesh Atid with 11 seats and Kulanu with 10.

Right-wing, far-right and religious parties proved were also triumphant with Habayit Hayehudi scoring eight seats, Shas seven, United Torah Judaism seven, and Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party with six.

The left-wing Meretz party trailed behind with just four seats.

The results suggest that Netanyahu will form a coalition with other right wing and far-right parties that could have a massive impact on Israel's faltering alliance with the United States, and the fragile relationship with the Palestinian Authority.

     Netanyahu said he would reach out to other right-wing leaders, and invite them to form a government.

Egyptian, Jordanian, and Palestinian heads of state, and the US secretary of state, were said to have met on the sidelines of the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh to see how they could end the Palestinian Authority's (PA) financial crisis.

They expressed concern about a possible collapse of the PA due to mounting financial problems that have been compounded by Israel's refusal to hand over millions of dollars in owed tax revenues.

Sources say that Kerry is concerned about the PA's future, and is said to be pressing Israel to pay the $100 million a month it owes Ramallah.

Israel held the money in retaliation for the PA's moves to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.