Former Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who calls PM Narendra Modi his “great friend”, is poised to return to power with his rightwing coalition allies appearing to win a resounding majority in the national elections.
As per local media reports, the Likud party leader is looking to form an alliance government, while incumbent prime minister Yair Lapid is reportedly yet to speak to his ally partners who, the reports said, are unhappy with his handling of the campaign.
As on Wednesday, 89 per cent of the votes polled in the national polls showed his far-right religious bloc heading to take over the reins of the country, on the back of a strong showing by Netanyahu’s ultranationalist coalition partner Religious Zionism party.
Final results are expected to be announced on Thursday, as per local media.
If Netanyahu-led group comes to power, it would further diminish hopes for peace with the Palestinians and could lead to a possible conflict with the Joe Biden administration in Israel’s closest ally the United States.
Netanyahu’s Likud could form the government with Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Religious Zionism – the three parties that supported him throughout the campaign. No other political party is ready to join his government in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, according to Haaretz newspaper.
As per the same report, Netanyahu’s alliance was projected to register victory at 65 seats in the 120-member Knesset. The Israeli leader, who first became prime minister in 1996, has been in the Opposition for around 17 months.
Reports said that he was planning to put in place a government and get the parliament speaker sworn in by November 15 in order to eject prime minister Lapid as soon as possible.
Netanyahu is currently facing three corruption cases.
“We are on the verge of a very big victory. I will establish a nationalist government that will see to all Israeli citizens without any exceptions,” he reportedly the 73-year-old leader reportedly told media persons at a gathering in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
With Netanyahu at the helm of affairs, PM Modi became the first prime minister to visit Israel in July 2019 in a major shift in India’s foreign policy towards the Jewish state.
In his message on the occasion of Republic Day last year, Netanyahu called PM Modi and India his “great friend”.