Leader of Israel’s White Blue Party and rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz said in the election on Wednesday that it appears from the exit polls that Netanyahu has lost, but only official results will confirm it.
Former general Benny Gantz stopped short of declaring victory in the election, but told a gathering of his party members with confidence that he seems to have accomplished our mission and vowed to work towards a national unity government.
Benny Gantz said Netanyahu “probably did not succeed in his mission” to win a fifth term in the elections that followed an inconclusive vote in April. “We will wait for the actual results”.
Netanyahu did not declare victory or defeat in a speech to the Likud party, in which he sipped water more than once and was speaking in a sodden voice. He expected the official results to be announced.
Netanyahu’s appearance in the middle of the night at the Likud election headquarters contrasted with his announcement of victory five months ago in an election he called close. His failure to form a government after the April election led to calls for new elections on Tuesday. Final results may take more than a week to appear, but the Knesset publishes preliminary results during the counting process, so the picture will become clearer within a day before the final count.
Hours after the polls closed, Israeli television stations published updated polls that gave Likud 30 to 33 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, slightly lower than previous expectations, while a blue-white party gave 32 to 34 seats.