After six years in office, Barack Obama finally lost an election as the nation’s leader. Of course, he wasn’t actually running, and the nation that repudiated his platform was Israel, not the U.S. Yesterday after a very hard-fought campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a clear and surprising victory in the election for Israel’s Knesset and the premiership.
It wasn’t supposed to go that way. Most pundits saw a very close election, a possible loss for Netanyahu’s Likud party but with enough center-right seats for Bibi to scrap together a coalition. When the results of the exit polls were revealed yesterday afternoon after polls closed, it seemed as though Likud would scrape together a tiny win, still much a better outcome than Netanyahu had expected. But when votes were actually counted, there was a clear and decisive win for the incumbent and for the center-right coalition.
With everything counted except for the military vote, it looks as if Likud has captured 29 of the 120 seats in Parliament, catapulting it and Netanyahu past his chief rival, the center-left Zionist Union alliance, which got 24 seats.
Now the horse trading really begins as Netanyahu tries to put together a ruling coalition.
There is much more to the story of the Israeli elections which will be told here during the next few days.
Cross-posted at The Lid