Israeli PM calls for “stable gov’t” amid unclear election results

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JERUSALEM, March 24 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Wednesday for the establishment of a “stable government” after the nation’s fourth elections in two years indicated another political deadlock.

“This hour calls for a stable government,” the longest-serving Israeli leader told his supporters at his right-wing Likud party headquarters in Jerusalem.

“In any case, we should not drag Israel to the fifth elections,” he said as the results of Tuesday’s parliamentary election projected another stalemate.

The 71-year-old prime minister said he reaches out to all parties that share the main parts of the Likud’s ideology in order to form a coalition together.

“I don’t rule out any party,” he stressed.

On Wednesday, with about 89 percent of the votes counted, Netanyahu’s political future seemed uncertain after his bloc of supporting parties failed to secure an immediate majority in the parliament.

According to figures issued by the Central Elections Committee, which oversees the elections, Netanyahu’s Likud was projected to gain 30 seats. His main rival, the centrist party of Yesh Atid, headed by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, gained about 18 seats.

However, in the Israeli parliamentary system, the government is formed by the candidate who managed to secure 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Together with his immediate allies, a bloc composed of the Religious Zionism party and the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and United Torah Judaism, Netanyahu has only 52 seats. He hopes to win support of his former ally Neftali Bennet, leader of the pro-settler Yamina party, which gained some seven seats, and perhaps even to form a historic alliance with Ra’am, an Islamist party that won some five seats.

Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, is fighting his political future while facing a criminal trial over corruption charges. Enditem

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