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With 97% of regular votes counted, Likud-led bloc has 65 seats, Meretz out

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters at his party's headquarters in Jerusalem, Nov. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters at his party's headquarters in Jerusalem, Nov. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

With 97% of regular votes counted, Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc is heading to a convincing victory, while the left-wing Meretz party remains short of crossing the threshold.

The Central Elections Committee has so far counted 4,101,766 votes, with 24,306 invalidated.

Based on the current count, Netanyahu’s bloc would pick up 65 seats, though this number may change as more ballots are processed, including some 500,000 “double envelopes” containing ballots cast by soldiers, prisoners and diplomats.

Currently, Likud has 31; Yesh Atid, 24; Religious Zionism, 14; National Unity, 12; Shas, 12; United Torah Judaism, 8; Yisrael Beytenu, 5; Ra’am, 5; Hadash-Ta’al, 5 and Labor has 4.

Exit polls predicted 62 seats for Netanyahu’s bloc, enough to secure a majority and form a coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.

The left-wing Meretz party is currently a hair short of the 3.25% vote minimum needed to win Knesset representation, with 3.2%.

The opposition Arab Balad party is also closing in on the threshold with 3.04% of total votes.

The Islamist Ra’am party, projected to win four seats in exit polls, is currently well over the electoral threshold at 4.33%, according to the current count, as is Hadash-Ta’al with 3.91%.

If Balad or Meretz fail to win Knesset representation it will further boost Netanyahu’s prospects for forming a coalition.

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