Benjamin Netanyahu has returned for another term as the Prime Minister of Israel. He was in contention with Yair Lapid, the country’s caretaker Prime Minister, who has now conceded defeat and congratulated Netanyahu on his victory.

Lapid’s office released a statement saying, “Prime Minister Lapid congratulated Opposition Leader Netanyahu on his victory in the elections, and updated him that he has instructed his entire office to prepare an organised transition of power”.

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Lapid, who has served as interim prime minister for the past four months, made the announcement just before the final results were released showing Netanyahu securing a parliamentary majority with his religious and ultranationalist allies.

Netanyahu expected to form the country’s most right-wing government in history when he takes power, likely in the coming weeks.

Israel held its fifth election in four years on Tuesday, a protracted political crisis that saw voters divided over Netanyahu’s fitness to serve while on trial for corruption.

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According to the final results, which still need to be certified in the coming days, Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox allies captured 64 seats in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, or Knesset. His opponents in the current coalition, led by Lapid, won 51 seats, with the remainder held by a small unaffiliated Arab party.

This will be Netanyahu’s third term as Israel’s Prime Minister, after having served in the position from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2021.

Italy’s new far-right premier, Giorgia Meloni, congratulated Netanyahu on Twitter. “Ready to strengthen our friendship and our bilateral relations, to better face our common challenges,″ she wrote.

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Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, also congratulated Netanyahu, calling him “a friend of Hungary.”

At least four Palestinians were killed in separate acts of Israeli-Palestinian violence as the votes were being tallied, and an Israeli police officer was lightly injured in a stabbing in Jerusalem’s Old City.