Election officials tallied the final votes from soldiers and others Wednesday night and into Thursday, giving an extra seat to the Jewish Home party and slightly shifting the right-left balance in the Knesset.
Kadima, which had stood on the edge of falling out of the Knesset, just squeezed past the entrance threshold after the 240,000 last votes were counted, ensuring places in the Knesset for party head Shaul Mofaz and MK Israel Hasson, finishing with 2.09% of the vote.
Had it failed to garner enough votes from the soldiers, prisoners, hospital patients and diplomats abroad, whose votes are counted last, the gutted faction could have found itself pushed below the 2 percent Knesset threshold and out of the halls of power.
The party, which was the largest faction in the 18th Knesset, will now be the smallest in the 19th.
The national religious Jewish Home party, on the other hand, will likely add a 12th seat to its tally, rising to the 9.10% mark and becoming the fourth largest party.
The extra seat will come at the expense of the United Arab List, which had been hovering at five seats but will now drop to four.
The extra seat gives the so-called right-wing bloc 61 seats, above the center-left bloc’s 59.
However, with Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party nixing any possibility of forming a blocking majority Wednesday, the outcome of the two blocs has taken on less importance.
The ultra right-wing Otzma Leyisrael, just 10,000 votes shy of the threshold, will not make it into the Knesset, as some had estimated they might.
Even with Kadima remaining above 2%, Yohanan Plesner, the MK who championed a bill for universal enlistment to the IDF and is the party’s No. 3, will not have a seat in parliament.
The final vote tally was announced Thursday afternoon. Officials had originally said the results would be announced in the morning. The reason behind the delay was not clear.
On Tuesday, Likud-Beytenu topped the election totals, with enough votes to give it 31 seats. New party Yesh Atid garnered 19 seats, and Labor 15. Coalition talks are expected to begin in earnest next week, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likely to be tapped to build a majority government.
Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this report.
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