Counting continues in Israel’s 4th elections in 2 years amid political deadlock

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JERUSALEM, March 25 (Xinhua) — Counting of the votes in Israel’s parliamentary elections continued on Thursday morning, as the fourth election in two years has emerged as yet another political stalemate.

With nearly 90 percent of the votes counted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc was projected to win 52 seats — nine seats short of the threshold needed for a majority in the 120-seat parliament, according to figures issued by the Central Elections Committee, which oversees the elections.

Netanyahu hopes to get the support of Yamina, a pro-settler party and a former close ally of his Likud party. The party is projected to win seven seats, according to the committee.

A bloc of parties that called for toppling the longtime leader is projected to win 57 seats.

Ra’am, an Islamist party, which was projected by exit polls to fail to pass the electoral threshold needed to get it into parliament, is now projected to win at least four seats.

The party, headed by Mansur Abbas, a former dentist, could hold the balance of power. Abbas said on Wednesday that he doesn’t rule out sitting in any coalition.

Before the elections, Netanyahu, who has traditionally refused to include Arab parties in his coalitions, said he will not rule out a coalition with Ra’am.

According to Abbas, the two have not yet talked after Tuesday’s elections.

The results show no clear winners in the elections.

The vote was the fourth time Israelis cast their ballots over the past two years following a series of inconclusive elections and prolonged political deadlock.

Final results are expected to be announced by Friday. Enditem

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