Jerusalem, Feb.11 (ANI): Both Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's Kadima party and Binyamin Netanyahu's opposition Likud party have claimed themselves to be the winners of Tuesday's elections, after it became apparent that Kadima had won the most seats in the new Knesset, but the Likud-led right-wing would constitute the larger bloc.
With 99 percent of the ballot boxes counted by 6:00 a.m., Kadima was narrowly leading Likud with a predicted 28 mandates, while the latter had garnered a predicted 27 seats. Israel Beiteinu was expected to earn 15 mandates, Labor 13, Shas 11, United Arab List 5, United Torah Judaism 4, National Union 4, Hadash 4, Meretz 3, Bayit Hayihudi 3, and Balad 2 seats.
Livni had argued earlier in the day that whoever headed the biggest party should be deemed to have "won the public's trust" and should thus be charged with forming the next coalition.
But Likud leaders were already working on Tuesday to construct a "blocking" majority that would deny her any such prospect, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Israel Beiteinu, whose support could be critical to the nature of the next coalition, was to meet on Wednesday to discuss the options produced by the election outcome.
But party leader Avigdor Lieberman, in a victory speech after midnight, indicated it was his intention to go with the Likud. (ANI)