JERUSALEM, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Israel's center-left politicians admitted defeat amid Tuesday's national election results, which displayed a clear-cut lead to incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the center-left Zionist Union camp.
Tallying 99 percent of the ballots, results showed Netanyahu's right wing Likud party garnered 30 seats (out of overall 120 seats), with the center-left Zionist Union gaining 24 seats.
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog called Netanyahu Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his victory.
"I welcome any result. I've spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and congratulated him on his achievements," Herzog said in a statement Wednesday.
Herzog said he is planning to continue heading the Zionist Union camp, which many polls predicted would secure a lead over the Likud, along with Tzipi Livni.
Herzog and Livni formed the Zionist Union through joining their Labor and Hatnua parties (respectively) in December 2014 amid upcoming elections.
Although Herzog did not reveal whether the list would join Netanyahu's upcoming coalition or operate in the Israeli parliament opposition, member Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) said Herzog clarified to her they would not join a coalition headed by the Likud party.
"I spoke with Herzog this morning, he explicitly told me we are moving towards the opposition," Yechimovich told Army Radio Wednesday.
Results Wednesday also showed that left-wing Meretz acquired four seats in the upcoming Knesset (parliament), two less than their six in the 2013 elections, barely passing the new electoral threshold of 3.25 percent of the votes.
Meretz's chairwoman Zehava Galon announced Wednesday morning that if, once 100 percent of the votes are counted, the party presence remains at four seats - she will resign her post to make room in the Knesset for number five on the party's list, MK Tamar Zandberg.
"This is a very difficult moment for me," Galon wrote on her Facebook page. "I hoped Meretz would maintain its strength and that we could establish an alternative government to end the Netanyahu era. Unfortunately, that's not the case," she wrote.
She also told party supporters - and left wing Israelis in general - to "keep their heads up" and be patient until the center-left returns to power in the future.
Election results easily enable Netanyahu to establish a government along with the Jewish Home (which won 8 seats), Israel Beytenu (6 seats), the ultra-orthodox parties Shas and the United Torah Judaism (15 combined). Netanyahu calls these parties his right wing "natural allies."
Netanyahu still needs increased support set to come from Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud member who established the Kulanu party (which got 10 seats) last year.
Following the Likud landslide victory it seems Kahlon will not have a problem joining Netanyahu's coalition, supporting him with 68 parliament members out of 120.
Kahlon told reporters Wednesday morning he spoke with Netanyahu who seemed "serious in his intentions."
"There were never any personal issues between us, there were ideological differences, and I certainly hope to patch them up," Kahlon said.
The Likud party in a statement Wednesday said Netanyahu spoke with heads of the Jewish Home, Israel Beytenu, Shas and the United Torah Judaism, and he plans to establish his coalition within two to three weeks' time.