Benjamin Netanyahu’s slim electoral victory means that the next coalition government in Israel’s Knesset will be less-inclined to cater to the interests of the far-right.
Even though he will remain in power, exit polls have revealed that his party has lost up to 25% of their seats in the Israeli parliament. With less of a governing majority, the coalition government will have to reflect the influence of the now-second-largest political party in Israel, Yesh Atid (‘There is a Future‘), led by the charismatic former journalist Yair Lapid.
This result was in contrast to the predictions by pollsters of an easy victory for Netanyahu and Israel’s right. Labor Party leader Shelly Yechimovich announced plans to form a government without Netanyahu but no one affords it any real prospect of occurring. Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party, formed when he left Likud, was wiped out, not even garnering enough of the vote to secure one seat in the new parliament.
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party secured 20 seats in the new parliament even though it has barely existed for a year, meaning it will set the tenor and course of the new coalition government, calming fears of an unrestrained right-led government under Benjamin Netanyahu.