Vote leaves Netanyahu on ropes

World | ASSOCIATED PRESS 19 Sep 2019

Israel's two main political parties were deadlocked yesterday after an unprecedented repeat election, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing an uphill battle to hold on to his job.

The election's seeming political kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman, said he'll insist upon a secular unity government between Netanyahu's Likud and Benny Gantz's Blue and White parties, who based on partial results are tied at 32 seats each out of the 120 in parliament.

Both parties appear to have fallen well short of securing a parliamentary majority. With results still pouring in, Lieberman insisted the overall picture was unlikely to change.

Lieberman also demanded a secular "liberal" government shorn of the religious and ultra-Orthodox allies the prime minister has long relied upon.

That could spell serious trouble for the continuation of Netanyahu's long rule.

Gantz, a former military chief, has ruled out sitting with a Netanyahu-led Likud at a time when the prime minister is expected to be indicted on corruption charges in the weeks ahead.

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