Israel vote deadlock confirmed by near-complete official results

With Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, right, winning 33 seats out of 120 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, left, winning 31; Israeli President Reuven Rivlin plans to begin consultations soon to decide who to choose to try to form a government. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2019

Israel vote deadlock confirmed by near-complete official results

  • Final election results will be published on Wednesday

JERUSALEM: Near-complete official results Friday confirmed a deadlock in Israel’s general election this week, putting Benny Gantz’s party as the largest but without an obvious path to form a majority coalition.
The results from Israel’s election committee showed Gantz’s centrist Blue and White with 33 seats out of 120 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud with 31.
Final results will be published on Wednesday, it said, and there could be changes before then.
The committee said the results did not include 14 polling stations where verifications were still ongoing.
Israeli media said that meant 99.8 percent of the votes had been counted.
The third-largest total was the mainly Arab Joint List alliance, which won 13 seats, followed by the Jewish ultra-Orthodox party Shas with nine.
Another ultra-Orthodox party, United Torah Judaism, won eight seats, as did ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu.
The results have put Netanyahu’s long tenure in office at risk.
On Thursday, he acknowledged the results did not allow him to form a right-wing coalition as he hoped and instead called on Gantz to form a unity government with him.
Gantz responded by saying he would have to be prime minister in a unity government since Blue and White was the largest party.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin plans to begin consultations with all parties voted into parliament on Sunday to decide who to choose to try to form a government.


Syria Kurds call for humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians

Updated 17 October 2019

Syria Kurds call for humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians

  • The appeal for a civilian exit from Ras Al-Ain comes after Turkey's Syrian proxies hit a health facility in the town
  • Meanwhile US Secretary of State Mike arrived in Turkey in a bid to secure a cease-fire

Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria on Thursday issued a statement calling for a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from a flashpoint border town encircled by Ankara's forces.

The statement was released as Turkey's offensive entered its ninth day.

The appeal for a civilian exit from Ras Al-Ain comes after Turkey's Syrian proxies hit a health facility in the town, trapping patients and staff inside, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Turkey on Thursday in a bid to secure a cease-fire to halt the Turkish offensive in Syria.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived earlier on a separate plane. They are due to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The visit comes a day after Erdogan firmly ruled out any negotiations with Kurdish militants in Syria, saying their only option was to lay down arms and retreat.
The United States has demanded a cease-fire in Turkey’s more than week-old operation in northern Syria.

President Donald Trump, faced with mounting criticism over the abrupt pullout of US troops, has denied he gave Erdogan a “green light” to launch the offensive.

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