A coalition led by the right-wing former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a majority of seats in the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, allowing the controversial figure to return to power.
Final election results announced on Thursday show that Netanyahu and his ultranationalist allies – many of whom were considered beyond the pale in Israeli politics only a few years ago – won 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, with 32 of those seats going to Netanyahu’s party, Likud.
On Wednesday, when roughly 85 percent of the votes had been counted, Netanyahu had told supporters that they were “on the brink of a very big victory”, and promised to form a “stable, national government”.
His opponents in the current coalition, led by Yair Lapid, the centrist current prime minister, won 51 seats, with the remainder held by a small unaffiliated Arab party.
Lapid congratulated Netanyahu and instructed his staff to prepare an organised transition of power, his office said on Thursday.
“The State of Israel comes before any political consideration,” Lapid said. “I wish Netanyahu success, for the sake of the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”
Netanyahu will have 28 days to form what is expected to be the most right-wing Israeli government in history.