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Netanyahu's right-wing bloc falls 3 seats short of majority in Israeli election

Netanyahu's right-wing bloc falls 3 seats short of majority in Israeli election
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE’s right-wing bloc fell three seats short of a parliamentary majority after the nation’s third election in a year.

Netanyahu’s Likud Party won a plurality of seats Monday, with 36, while fellow coalition members won 22, for a combined total of 58, three shy of the 61-seat majority, Haaretz reported. The Joint List alliance of Arab parties, meanwhile, had its strongest showing ever winning 15 seats, according to Thursday results.

Meanwhile, ex-Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will recommend Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White Party, to form the country’s next government, after declining to make a recommendation and calling for a unity government after the previous election.

The Joint List similarly backing Gantz would put 62 seats in Gantz’s corner, Axios reports, likely leading to President Reuven Rivlin allowing him to form a government. The Joint List has said it will consider backing Gantz if he makes "a change truly in the direction of peace and equality."

Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, has also said it will support a bill that bans anyone currently under indictment from forming a coalition government. Netanyahu was indicted in November on three corruption charges, with his trial set to begin in 12 days.