Blue & White in the Lead After the Counting of the ‘Double Envelopes’

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The Blue & White party edged ahead following the counting of 280,000 ‘double envelopes’, the largest number recorded in Israel’s election history. With over 95% of those votes counted, the party headed by MK Benny Gantz has 33 seats while Likud only has 31 seats. The right-wing/chareidi bloc remains at 55 while the left-wing/centrist bloc now has 57 seats.

The Central Elections Committee (CEC) on Thursday morning reported that the counting of the so-called 280,000 ‘double envelopes’ has been completed.

These ballots are from the approximately 8000 prison inmates in addition to soldiers and disabled persons. Final election figures are expected to be released on Thursday night or Friday morning.

With about 95% of those votes counted, it appears the Blue & White party has 33 seats while Likud has dropped down to 31. This results in the right-wing/chareidi bloc being 55 while the left-wing/centrist bloc is now 57. A minimum of 61 votes is required to form a coalition government with a minimum majority of one seat.

The CEC report the Joint Arab List has moved to 13 seats and is the third largest party. The list is made up of the Ta’al, Ra’am, Hadash and Balad parties.

The representatives of each party will meet with the president, at which time they will recommend who their candidate is for prime minister. President Rivlin will have to decide who will receive the mandate, or alternatively, work with PM Netanyahu and MK Gantz towards the formation of a broad national unity coalition government.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)