Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wins national election; secures fifth term in office: Reports
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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu wins national election; secures fifth term in office: Reports

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Israeli national election, securing a record fifth term in office on Wednesday after nearly complete results from Israel’s general election put him in position to form a rightwing coalition.

With 96 percent of the votes counted, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud won 37 of Knesset seats, against 36 for centrist Blue and White, headed by Netanyahu’s rival, former general Benny Gantz.

The closely contested race was widely seen in Israel as a referendum on Netanyahu’s character and record in the face of corruption allegations. He faces possible indictment in three graft cases, and has denied wrongdoing in all of them.

The veteran right-wing leader’s Likud party and Gantz’s new centrist Blue and White party both won 35 seats, according to the Knesset website and the Israeli TV channels. That would mean a five-seat gain for Likud.

A dominant global player who has built a strong economy, Netanyahu is widely credited with having kept the country secure and delivered a series of long-sought diplomatic victories, many of them thanks to President Trump.

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