Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory on Tuesday.
“With the end of the vote count and the announcement of final results, I congratulate you on the achievement in the elections. We will continue to serve the citizens of Israel, and I wish you and all of Israel a happy [upcoming Passover] holiday,” he told Netanyahu.
Netanyahu responded to Gantz by also wishing him a happy holiday, and that “we will restore calm to Israel, each in his own capacity.”
The call by Gantz comes three days after his party lost the election to Netanyahu’s Likud. Israel’s Central Elections Committee published the final results of the election on Thursday, with Netanyahu’s Likud gaining 26.45 percent of the vote or 36 seats, narrowly edging Blue and White, which took in 26.11 percent or 35 seats.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is expected to meet with party leaders next week to hear recommendations on forming a government. Given Likud’s victory and the strong showing of other parties allied with Likud, Netanyahu is almost certainly likely to be tasked by Rivlin to form the next government. Netanyahu has indicated that he will form a coalition of right-wing parties with Blue and White expected to lead the opposition.
Nevertheless, an unconfirmed report on Friday by Israel’s Channel 12 claimed that there are talks among Likud, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu Party, headed by former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, to form a unity government.