After 60 hours of polling stations closing, the Israeli Central Election Commission announced the results of the elections after having spent time examining and re-examining the "additional" votes made by soldiers, diplomats and others absent.
According to the results, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party won 36 seats out of 120 in the Israeli Knesset with a total of 26.5%, while its main rival, Blue and White coalition, led by former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, won 35 seats with a total of 26.11%.
Altogether, Likud and its traditional Jewish ultra-Orthodox and nationalist allies command a 65-55 majority in parliament, putting Netanyahu in position to head the next coalition government. On Wednesday, Blue and White’s leaders conceded defeat.
The final count showed another nationalist faction, the New Right party of Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, falling just short of the necessary 3.25% of the votes needed to get into parliament.
Although the ballot count is complete, commission head Hanan Melzer said the results were not official and still subject to review. He said final certified results are to be handed to the country’s president next Wednesday.