Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fills in his ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Jerusalem, on March 17, 2015. Israel held parliamentary election on Tuesday. (Xinhua/JINI/POOL/Marc Israel Sallem)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fills in his ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Jerusalem, on March 17, 2015. Israel held parliamentary election on Tuesday. (Xinhua/JINI/POOL/Marc Israel Sallem)

The bloc of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is three seats short of a majority coalition in the 120-seat parliament, the latest figures showed Wednesday after 99 percent of the votes have been counted.

The Central Elections Committee, which oversees the parliament election, said Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party gained 36 seats, while its main rival, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White centrist party garnered 33.

Likud and its allies, a bloc of a pro-settler party and two Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties, won 58 seats.

Israelis were following closely the updates of the election as slight changes could determine whether the country’s longest-serving leader could form a government coalition.

Netanyahu already claimed victory late on Monday night, after exit polls indicated a firm majority by his right-wing party over Blue and White.

Gantz, Israel’s former military chief, has not conceded defeat yet, who said on Tuesday that he was waiting for the final results as the election could once again hit a deadlock.

On Monday, Israelis went to cast their ballots in the unprecedented third parliamentary election in fewer than a year, after the previous two rounds in September and April yielded inconclusive results as no party was able to form a coalition.

It is worth noting that Netanyahu is facing a corruption trial scheduled to begin on March 17, in which he is indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Should Netanyahu establish a new government, he will become the first incumbent prime minister under a criminal trial in the history of Israel. Enditem

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