Netanyahu cancels UN visit over post-poll ‘political context’: Officials

Netanyahu waves as he addresses supporters at his Likud party's electoral campaign headquarters in the coastal city of Tel Aviv early on September 18, 2019. (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled his planned visit to the United Nations General Assembly due to the “political context in the country”, sources in his office told AFP Wednesday.

Initial results from Tuesday’s general election show Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with the Blue and White alliance of his main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz.

Gantz, said on Wednesday it appeared from the exit polls that Israel’s longest-serving leader was defeated but that only official results would tell.

In his own speech to right-wing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, sipping water frequently and speaking in a hoarse voice, made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he was awaiting a vote tally.

In a related development, Israel’s Arab coalition appears poised to emerge as the main opposition bloc following Tuesday’s election, a historic first that would grant a new platform to a long-marginalized minority.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:00 - GMT 07:00