Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid has congratulated former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his victory in Tuesday’s general election.
It marks a dramatic comeback for the former prime minister, who was ousted by his opponents 14 months ago.
In a press conference on Thursday, November 3, Lapid said he had called Netanyahu to wish him luck and tell him he would ensure an orderly transition of power.
Netanyahu’s Likud party and its far-right and religious allies won 64 of the 120 seats in parliament, according to final results released on Thursday.
Israeli media said the final results gave Likud 32 seats; Mr Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party 24; the far-right ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism alliance 14; and the centre-right National Unity party of Defence Minister Benny Gantz 12.
The ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism got 11 and seven seats respectively; the secular nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party six; the Arab Raam and Hadash-Taal parties five each; and Labour four.
The result also ends a period of political deadlock that began in 2019, when Netanyahu was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, which he denies. He remains on trial, with the next hearing on Monday.
After exit polls projected that he would secure a majority, Netanyahu told Likud supporters that he would set up a government that would “look after all the citizens of Israel, without exception, because the state is all of ours”.
“We’ll restore security, we’ll cut the cost of living, we’ll widen the circle of peace even further, we’ll restore Israel as a rising power among the nations.”
The US said in a statement it hoped “all Israeli government officials will continue to share the values of an open, democratic society, including tolerance and respect for all in civil society, particularly for minority groups”.