Netanyahu’s rival to try to form gov’t coalition amid inconclusive elections

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JERUSALEM, March 23 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, Yair Lapid, said Tuesday that he will try to form a government coalition amid another round of inconclusive election results.

Initial results of Israel’s fourth election in less than two years suggested that right-wing parties won 59-60 seats in the 120-seat parliament, while centrist-left parties calling to replace Netanyahu won 60-61 seats.

“We will do anything possible to form a sane government,” Lapid, leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid, told his supporters at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv. “As of now, Netanyahu is unable to form a government.”

“At the moment, Netanyahu does not have 61 seats and the pro-change bloc has 61 seats,” Lapid said, referring to a bloc of parties that attempt to replace Netanyahu, who faces a criminal trial over corruption charges.

Initial results suggested that Yesh Atid won about 18 seats while Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party won about 30 seats.

Earlier, Netanyahu claimed victory, suggesting he will attempt to form a government coalition with three ally parties: the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and United Torah Judaism, and a new far-right pro-settler party called the Religious Zionism. Initial results suggested they won altogether about 52 seats.

Netanyahu has expressed hope to join forces with Yamina, another pro-settler party, to reach the 61 seats needed to form a majority coalition. Enditem

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