Embarks on Coalition Building
The London Telegraph
Israel's Right and center-Left blocs have won an equal share of the country's 120-seat parliament in the election, with 99.5 per cent of votes counted, presenting a potential political headache and complex coalition negotiations.
The figures published on the committee's website early on Wednesday showed the joint list fielded by Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, coming out ahead of its rivals in Tuesday's elections, with 31 seats in total.
But the success of various centrist, leftwing and Arab factions means the overall makeup of the parliament will be evenly split, in a rare result for Israel.
Within the rightwing bloc, in addition to the 31 seats garnered by a list joining Mr. Netanyahu's Likud and the secular national Yisrael Beitenu, the national religious Jewish Home won 11 seats, as did the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Shas.
The Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism faction won seven seats, bringing the bloc's total to 60.
On the center-Left side, the centrist Yesh Atid - the surprise success of the elections - came away with 19 seats, slightly ahead of the center-left Labour party, which won 15.
The HaTnuah faction of former foreign minister Tzipi Livni carried six seats, as did the leftwing Meretz, while Livni's onetime party Kadima won just two.
Combined, the three Arab Israeli parties that crossed the electoral thresholds to make a showing in the parliament, won 12 seats, bringing the center-left bloc to 60 seats in all.
The split paves the way for complex and delicate coalition negotiations.
As the head of the largest single list, Netanyahu is well placed to be awarded first shot at forming a government by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who is charged with making the decision.
But with the parliament so divided, the parties of the center-Left bloc could try to form a blocking front, refusing to join a coalition with Netanyahu.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/23/2013
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