For the second time in five months, Israel holds parliamentary (Knesset) elections, having failed to create a coalition government after the April 9, 2019 elections. Once again, neither Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party nor Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party garner a majority of 61 seats to form a government. Compared to the April 2019 elections, several major shifts occur: Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu party surges from 5 to 8 seats; the Arab Parties from 12 to 13 seats, Likud drops from 35 to 32 seats; former Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayalet Shaked, not elected in April are elected in September. The radical right-wing parties did not pass the 3.25% electoral threshold to be a part of the Knesset. Forming a coalition government under the shadow of Netanyahu’s pending indictments is prominent in President Rivlin’s talks with both leading parties. There were three former Israeli Chiefs of Staff, again 2 from Ethiopian background, and 28 women down from 35 in 2015. Neither Gantz or Netanyahu—both provided with opportunities to do so by President Rivlin—are able to form a government, leading to a third general election (in 12 months) set to take place in March 2020.
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