by Gideon Alon , Israel Hayom Staff
The total voter turnout for the election stood at 69.4. Yisrael Beytenu only party that is not clearly aligned with either camp, may decide identity of prime minister. All exit polls show far-right Otzma Yehudit failing to pass the minimum electoral threshold.
The polls are officially closed in the 2019 do-over election, and the initial results – based on anonymous exit polls – are in. All three major news outlets in Israel said it was too close to call, with neither the Left or the Right commanding a majority of the Knesset.
Likud and Blue and White were essentially tied with around 32 seats, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may not be able to get a confidence vote to swear in a new government because one his main allies no longer considers himself tethered to his premiership, MK Avigdor Lieberman.
Even though the Left was poised to get slightly more seats (especially due to revised exit poll data from Channel 13 News), it is faces an uphill battle in forming a governing coalition that would win the support of a majority of the Knesset.
This is because of Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu, which is expected to get around 9 seats, has been a wildcard. Lieberman insisted late Tuesday that he would not throw his support behind any bloc and would insist on having a unity government.
However, this is almost impossible to achieve because Blue and White have ruled out sitting with Netanyahu in a government because of his potential indictment in three separate corruption cases. This could result in prolonged stalemate or even another election.
Blue and White: 33.6
Joint Arab List: 12
Yisrael Beytenu: 8.6
United Torah Judaism: 8
Democratic Union: 5.3
None of the polls showed the far-right Otzma Yehudit passing the minimum electoral threshold.
Channel 12's exit poll predicted the following number of seats for the 22nd Knesset:
Blue and White: 34
Yisrael Beytenu: 8
Democratic Union: 5
United Torah Judaism: 8
Joint Arab List: 11
The Channel 11 exit poll gave both the Likud and Blue and White 32 seats, with 10 for Yisrael Beytenu.
Channel 11 predicted 12 seats for the Joint Arab List, 9 for Shas, 8 for United Torah Judaism, 7 for Yamina, and 5 each for Labor-Gesher and the Democratic Union.
The Channel 11 results also showed Otzma Yehudit failing to pass the minimum threshold.
Channel 13's exit poll also showed Blue and White in the lead, with 33 seats, followed by the Likud at 31.
Channel 13 predicted 13 seats for the Joint Arab List, 9 for Shas, 8 each for United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu, and 6 each for Yamina, the Democratic Union, and Labor-Gesher.
Otzma Yehudit failed to pass the minimum electoral threshold.
How do the numbers shake out when we look at the blocs?
According to Channel 12, the Right has 57 seats compared to 55 for the Center-Left.
Channel 13 gave 58 seats to the Center-Left and 54 to the Right, with Yisrael Beytenu in a position to tip the scales, with a projected 8 seats.
Yisrael Beytenu had even more influence on the blocs according to the Channel 11 results, which gave the Center-Left 54 seats and 56 seats to the Right, with 10 for Yisrael Beytenu.
When the results of all exit polls were integrated, the Right and Left were tied with 56 seats each, with 8 in the hands of Yisrael Beytenu.
It will take at least two days of ballot counting to arrive at the final results for the second election of 2019.
Voting took place at 10,885 voting stations across the country, with 6,394,030 Israelis on the rolls as eligible to vote.
In the previous election, in April, parties needed 32,860 votes for one Knesset mandate. To pass the electoral threshold, parties needed 3.25% of the overall votes. The voter turnout rate in the April election was 68.5%.
As of 8 p.m., 3,418,531 voters had cast their ballots, 63.7% of eligible voters and 2.4 percentage points more than had voted at the same time on Election Day on April 9.
Early Wednesday, the official vote count began as election ballots were handed over to the headquarters of the Central Elections Committee. The total voter turnout for the election stood at 69.4, a small uptick than April's vote.
In the 70 years since the country's first election, the voter turnout rate has steadily declined. The 1949 election recorded an all-time high turnout of 86.9%.
In 2013, for the first time since the state's inception, less than 70% of Israelis exercised their democratic right to vote (68.9%), while voter turnout for the 17th Knesset in 2006 was at an all-time low of 63.5%.
After that point, subsequent elections began seeing an uptick in voter participation and in the election for the 20th Knesset voter turnout passed the 70% mark for the first time in a decade (72.34%).
As stated, voter turnout in April dipped below the 70% mark to 68.5%, and this time around, in an effort to learn from their mistakes, the parties had plans to make sure their supporters actually go out and vote.
Gideon Alon , Israel Hayom Staff
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