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Central Elections Committee approves Israel’s final vote results. Nobody won

Likud representatives abstain, Shas party leaves room as 20 remaining members vote to okay count that confirms continued political deadlock

Officials count the remaining ballots at the Knesset in Jerusalem, two days after the general elections, early on March 4, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Officials count the remaining ballots at the Knesset in Jerusalem, two days after the general elections, early on March 4, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Central Elections Committee on Tuesday approved the final results of last week’s Knesset elections, which, the unofficial tally has shown, gave no political party a clear path to forming a majority coalition.

Confirmation of the results for elections for the 23rd Knesset passed with 20 in favor and none against. Six Likud party representatives on the committee abstained from voting while those from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party left the room to avoid being present for the show of hands, Hebrew media reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud had sought to access vote count protocols before the results were formally published. The election was the third within a year after two previous votes failed to break the political deadlock and left the country with an interim government of limited powers.

The rival Blue and White party criticized the Likud abstentions, saying in a statement it was a “dangerous precedent and a low point of not accepting the results of the elections.”

“Netanyahu’s agents are trying to make the elections committee the enemy of the people, after having tried to do so to the state prosecution, the courts and the attorney general,” the Blue and White statement said. “We will not allow this. A government must be established to prevent fourth elections.”

Netanyahu has been indicted in three corruption cases but has dismissed the charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery as a witch hunt against him by law enforcement — including the police, attorney general and the courts — the left, and the media.

Central Election Committee director Orly Adas, center, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on January 14, 2020. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Likud said last week it would petition the High Court of Justice to demand all the tallying protocols be released after unofficial results from the elections gave the Likud 36 seats to rival Blue and White’s 33, leaving the right-wing bloc led by the premier three seats short of the 61-seat majority required to form a government. Likud said in a statement at the time that it wanted to correct “errors in the recording and writing up of results,” without providing any evidence.

However, Central Elections Committee director general Orly Adas on Sunday said there was “no chance in the world” that the Knesset seat distribution resulting from last week’s vote would change after alleged irregularities are probed.

The Central Elections Committee on Friday said that it dismissed any implication that there was political involvement in the tallying of votes.

The final results will bw formally handed to the president on Wednesday.

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