Vote results on Friday confirmed a deadlock in the Zionist entity’s general election and put Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party as the second-largest, leaving him with a tough battle to extend his long tenure in office.
The near-complete official results from Tuesday’s election gave ex-military chief Benny Gantz’s Blue and White alliance the most seats, with 33 out of parliament’s 120.
Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud won 31 seats, but neither had an obvious path to a majority coalition.
In a stark admission on Thursday, Netanyahu acknowledged he was unable to form a right-wing coalition as he hoped and called on Gantz to join him in a unity government instead.
Gantz responded by saying he would have to be prime minister in a unity government since Blue and White was the largest party.
The standoff has even raised the possibility of yet another election — which would be the third to be held in a year following April polls that also ended inconclusively.
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.
Final results will be published on Wednesday and there could be changes before then, Israeli election committee said.
The committee said the results did not include 14 polling stations where verifications were still ongoing.
Israeli media said 99.8 percent of the votes had been counted.
The third-largest total was the mainly Arab Joint List alliance, which won 13 seats.