The United States and Europe are urging Israel to continue its efforts to forge peace with Palestinians in the aftermath of its gridlocked election.
Leaders of the two main Israeli parties are seeking coalition partners to form a government after no clear winner emerged. The ruling centrist Kadima party led by Tzipi Livni won 28 seats and Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party 27, both well short of the 61 needed to form a government. But, the electoral trend to the right is boosting Netanyahu’s bid to become prime minister. Key to the outcome could be the 150,000 soldiers’ ballots yet to be counted. Israel’s President Shimon Perez will have to choose who will form the new government. If Nethanyahu catches up with Livni as a result of the military vote, observers say Perez will have no choice but to appoint the Likud leader. In the US, The White House, while refraining from commenting on the election result, has emphasised its desire for progress in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The EU is calling on Israel’s future government to “do what’s necessary” to consolidate the ceasefire in Gaza.