BERLIN – Though comments by European political leaders on the Knesset election were few and far between on Wednesday, the media reported extensively on the results.

The highest-circulation daily outside Japan – Germany’s Bild – wrote “The winner is actually the loser” under a picture of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid and Labor’s Shelly Yacimovich.

The paper asked in its headline, “Will he do it with him or her?” in connection with a coalition government with either Lapid or Yacimovich.

The Greek media was packed full of articles. The Kathimerini broadsheet headlined its report “Victory of Netanyahu at the elections in Israel,” with the subtitle reading “The party of Netanyahu won the elections, surprise second place to the centrist party Yesh Atid.” Ta Nea wrote, “Israel: The seats were divided in two between the Right and the Left in Knesset.”

The leftist paper Eleftherotypia wrote, “Israel: The surprise came from the centrist- left.”

In an analysis for The Jerusalem Post, Elena Zaharieva, a close observer of Bulgarian- Israeli relations, wrote that the “10 leading Bulgarian media sources show a consistency in the reaction of the Bulgarian media to the elections in Israel. The focus is on the weaker support for the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu coalition in comparison to the predicted figures, and the loss of 11 seats by the coalition.”

She continued, “National BNT channel reported: ‘Netanyahu won the elections in Israel, but the results show a significant drop in support for the prime minister.’ “The National Bulgarian radio station Horizont reported that Netanyahu may lose the prime-minister’s position and cited The New York Times view that the election result was a humiliating rebuke for the prime minister. The Bulgarian news outlet Dnevnik wrote, ‘Netanyahu forms new government with equal power of Left and Right,’ and the 24 Chasa newspaper declared: ‘Netanyahu claims victory but did not win the expected number of seats,’” Zaharieva wrote.

Spain’s leftist El País wrote, “Netanyahu wins but he loses ground to the Center and the Left,” and quoted Netanyahu, “Our priority will be avoiding a nuclear Iran.” Ana Carbajosa, from El País, wrote, “Bibi: a weakened king,” and said that “The PM is not especially charismatic, but he tunes in with the average Israeli citizen.”

France 24 TV headlined an article on its website, “Tough-talking secularist Lapid shakes up Israeli poll.”

In a pre-election article, the state-run French news organization had predicted, “Prosettlement extremists to gain from Israel’s right shift.”

In Le Monde, a headline for the blog of Gilles Paris noted, “Binyamin Netanyahu, less triumphant than expected.”

Le Figaro wrote, “Netanyahu, winner of a colorless victory.”

Most of the pre-election European media narrative anticipated a move to the Right in the Knesset.

Writing from Jerusalem, the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat’s correspondent wrote that Netanyahu said he “is going to construct the widest government possible,” which the prime minister vowed to do during his speech Tuesday night. The article’s headline: “Israel’s Netanyahu won the elections: The Iranian nuclear program, the biggest challenge.”

Italy’s papers devoted substantial coverage to the elections. Corriere della Sera ran the headline, “Surprise in Israel. Rocking back the Right.”

La Stampa wrote, “The risk of an unstable majority,” and that “the elections for the Knesset thaw Israeli politics, and make possible different majorities.”

The paper went on to say that the result generated new leadership and added “uncertainty... in Jerusalem, in a Middle East already in profound transformation.”

La Repubblica headlined its report, “Surprise at the polls, Netanyahu loses the vote but announces: I won.”

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