With nearly 4,000,000 million votes counted—more than 95 percent of votes of the total—the Israeli elections emerged with what appeared to be a stunning victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. While exit polls universally put Likud in a dead heat with its principal rival, the Zionist Union, the actual vote counts counted so far have given a dramatically different picture. TheTower.org offers the following estimated tally for mandates in the 120-seat Knesset, based on data reported by the Central Elections Committee:
Zionist Union: 23
Joint List: 13
Yesh Atid: 11
Jewish Home: 8
United Torah Judaism: 7
Yisrael Beiteinu: 7
Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, who is tasked with appointing a party leader to attempt to form a governing coalition, had indicated in recent weeks that he preferred a united government between Likud and the Zionist Union. However, with Likud so far ahead of all rivals after the final tally, it is likely that Likud will get first crack at forming a government — which it should be easily placed to do.
Earlier TheTower.org offered analysis based on exit polls that suggested the coming coalition negotiations would present Moshe Kahlon, head of Kulanu, as the role of “kingmaker” capable of setting the coalition for either Likud or Zionist Union. The current figures change that significantly: While technically neither Likud nor Zionist Union can form a coalition without Kahlon, it seems that the sense of momentum and political mandate now handed to Likud will make it much more difficult for Kulanu to resist a Likud-led coalition.
Below are TheTower.org’s estimates, though we caution they are not final.