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Quest Means Business

Voting Closes In Israel, Awaiting First Exit Polls; Three Exit Polls Show Netanyahu Bloc With Narrow Majority; Surging Inflation Has been Key Issue Among Voters; Iran To Send More Weapons To Russia; Jair Bolsonaro Addresses Brazil After Election Loss But Doesn't Admit Defeat. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 01, 2022 - 16:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: That was the tenor last year, or the last election, anything but Bibi. That's how they did it.

And so as the hour comes towards 10 o'clock in Israel, the Israelis are being asked to break the persistent political deadlock in what could have a

major impact on the country and the region.

It is now 10 o'clock in, in Israel. The polls have closed, we are awaiting the first exit poll.

Hadas is with me at Likud party headquarters.

Hadas, feel free to butt in and, you know, just give us the number as and when you see it.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Richard, well, from sources we are hearing right as these exit polls are starting to come out, polls are officially

closed now. It does seem as though what we're hearing from these exit polls that Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies may have the numbers to form a

governing coalition.

Now what we're hearing from our sources is that this does seem to be where the trend is heading. And really notably, Richard, from these initial

results that we are hearing from our sources is the rise of the far-right, that this far-right party, one of whose leaders was once convicted for

inciting racism and supporting terrorism, really known as a far right settler extremist, that his party, that he may have as many more than 12 to

15 votes.

QUEST: Forgive me interrupting, Channel 12 is saying 61 votes, their exit poll has -- not 61, these are, of course, projections. It's an exit poll.

But 12 says the Netanyahu coalition will get or should get 61 mandates as they're known.

We're waiting to hear what the other networks, 11 and 13 say. If that's true, that makes him Prime Minister or will, in the fullness of time, make

him Prime Minister again.

GOLD: Yes. I mean, listen, again, we have to caution to all of our viewers, these are the initial exit polls, these are not official results

and these results can change as the night goes on. And as the pollsters, start counting more numbers, because keep in mind, there is a threshold

that the parties have to pass before they can even be counted.

And if a party, a small party suddenly passes that threshold, that can completely change the balance, especially when we're talking about one or

two seats, which is essentially where we're seeing Netanyahu standing at 61 or 62 from these exit polls.

If one small party makes it through that could bring him down, possibly, but we are seeing a trend. So far, it seems as though from the three

networks is that Netanyahu and his allies will potentially have those numbers to form a government. We will not get the official numbers, the

official vote count for several days.

But if this trend continues, if all of the official results, follow the exit poll results, it does seem as though Netanyahu will get the mandate to

form a government and if these numbers hold, he will come back to the Prime Minister once again becoming the longest serving Prime Minister in Israeli


QUEST: Now, let's just, while we wait for a little bit of clarity on this. And you're right, I mean, over the next couple of hours, we're not

going to get sufficient numbers of votes in real tallies to take us too much further.

But the parties that are in coalition with Netanyahu, he is expected to get 30 or 31 mandates in his own right, but it is the Religious Zionism and

Jewish Power, the United Torah Judaism, and Shas, those three that will push it forward.

And now I understand all three exit polls, and they have a fairly good history and precedent of getting it right, are all saying 61 for Netanyahu

and the significance here, I think, Hadas, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that they're not saying 60 Even Stevens, they're saying 61, which is a


GOLD: Yes, I mean, that is the magic number. Sixty-one is the number that anybody needs to be able to have a majority in the Parliament and to become

the Prime Minister. And some of these exit polls we're seeing even possibly having these early results, even possibly having at 62, even having a

cushion of one vote, hey, that's even better than what Yair Lapid and his coalition had when they came into power.

But I think what's really notable what we're really looking out of these results, as much as it is about Benjamin Netanyahu and his party and/or

what Yair Lapid's party got is the rise of that far-right party. How many votes are they going to get? Because that could potentially put them as the

third largest party in the Israeli government.

What does that mean? What kind of ministerial positions will these people have? These are people potentially that will have ministerial positions

that like I said, were once convicted for inciting racism.

We can hear the music now starting. It feels as though the energy in this room is starting to become celebratory -- Richard.

QUEST: Yes. Now interesting. Tell me about the mood because, you know, we always find at political parties on election night one becomes like New

Year's Eve and the other looks like you've just lost some money down the drain.


GOLD: Yes, well, I was in this same room last time around when the numbers weren't so clear, even though Benjamin Netanyahu did get that first

mandate, the energy was different. In the ceiling, actually, there were all these balloons just waiting to come down, and at the end of the night, they

still hadn't come down because it wasn't a celebration.

The feeling I have, to tell you, Richard is so much different tonight. It does feel like it's going to be much more celebratory and likely part of

what he has to thank for all of this, if it does turn out to be true that he does have the votes in order to become Prime Minister is that higher

turnout, we were talking about.

The fact that this is the highest turnout for Israeli voters since 1999, this despite the fact it's the fifth election in three-and-a-half years. It

does seem as though potentially if Netanyahu pulled it off, but he did manage to pull out all of those voters out in his favor.

QUEST: We'll be with you back in a moment in Jerusalem, Hadas Gold. Grateful for you.

Neri Zilber is with me, the journalist and Yohanan Plesner, President of The Israel Democracy Institute, both are with me.

Start with you, Neri Zilber. So, I mean, let's just pour some cold water if we need to, how accurate and frequently inaccurate or not are these exit


NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: Well, Richard, that is the right question to be asking right now, just a few minutes after those exit polls came out.

We should remember, last Israeli election in March of 2021, the immediate exit polls had Bibi Netanyahu and his right-wing allies, with the majority

-- with a majority, but slowly throughout the course of the night, even though those exit polls were estimated downwards, so we should take it with

a mountain of salt at the moment.

But look, they do give us a broader look at the trends that may have happened today, during Election Day, it does seem like there may have

likely been a surge of right-wing voters to the ballot box, and on the other side of the equation, Arab-Israeli turnout was likely not where it

needed to be, especially since there were three independent Arab-Israeli parties running this time around.

QUEST: Yohanan, the number of people voting, extraordinarily high, Hadas Gold was telling us, who did that help most?

YOHANAN PLESNER, PRESIDENT, THE ISRAELI DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE: Well, good evening, Richard and thanks for having me.

Yes, we are now in the fifth election campaign in just three-and-a-half years. And apparently, we had the highest participation rate. So rather

than demonstrating election fatigue or lack of faith in the democratic system, Israelis came in huge numbers to the polls. It is estimated at

around 72 percent, and there is only about 90 percent of Israelis in the country. So it's actually de facto close to 80 percent, which is extremely


It seems, based on the initial figures, that the Ultra-Orthodox community came in record numbers, and they outperformed the figures in the initial

surveys, since they belong to the Netanyahu camp, and this probably is the single largest difference and that currently brings the Netanyahu bloc to

the 61 or 62 threshold, that should be just about sufficient in order to form a government.

But again, those are initial results. And there's one probably major factor that we need to wait for, which is whether a third Arab Party by the name

of Balad, whether they're able to cross the threshold. If they will indeed cross the threshold, then Mr. Netanyahu loses majority.

So, it's too early to make -- to reach conclusions, but clearly, there is a trend that Mr. Netanyahu just about, with some radical right-wing forces,

and a very Ultra-Orthodox Party, he might be able to form a narrow government.

QUEST: And just let me assist our viewers with understanding this. The method of counting in Israel, it is a well-known method of proportional

representation. It's not obviously first past the post and it is not single transferable vote. It's basically you keep dividing the number of votes by

a dwindling number of seats remaining.

The quotient keeps getting smaller and therefore you get more and more parties coming into the system.

Yohanan, is this system, the halt system of counting votes, which it does actually promote and support the larger parties to a minor extent, but is

this convoluted system the reason, Yohanan, that Israel has these fractured coalition governments or is it a constitutional issue?


PLESNER: Well, clearly, Israel really is in great need for electoral reform in order to stabilize our system. Yes, indeed, the fact we have a

proportional representation; parliamentary democracy, Israelis elect the parties, then the parties then elect a government.

But the system is designed in a way that is unstable, our Parliament can decide to dissolve itself and go for an early election. And with a simple

majority of 61, this is quite unique, and if we want to stabilize the system, this needs to change.

It's not the reason for the current crisis, but it enabled the crisis. The crisis is very much around Mr. Netanyahu, the fact that he was indicted and

nevertheless remained in politics. He has a very strong camp of supporters and he has a very strong camp of Israelis who oppose him.

But the fact that we have weaknesses in the electoral system, and a relatively fragile constitutional arrangement, those two systemic features

contributed to the crisis and helped extend it.

QUEST: Thank you. The pictures you're seeing from Jerusalem there, they are the ones from the Likud Party headquarters, where the celebrations --

let's listen in just for a second.

Now, I've been covering elections often enough to know that those are the voices, the noises, the faces of people who believe they have won. Believe

me, it'll be like a lead balloon at the other place when we finally see those pictures.

Neri Zilber, there are two aspects we have to really dig deep in here, if Netanyahu is on course to be back in power. The first of course is this

right-wing coalition, this ultra-religious coalition and what this means? Let's take that first and then we'll look at the corruption trial that

Netanyahu is underway with.

So how right-wing is this coalition? How off stream is it?

ZILBER: Well, Richard, it will be if Netanyahu actually wins and forms this coalition government, it will be Israel's most right-wing, most far-

right government that it's ever had. It's not only the sense that the Likud Party itself has shifted rightward in recent years under Netanyahu in his

rather desperate attempt to stop the ongoing corruption trial against him, but it is also, as Hadas mentioned earlier, the figure, Itamar Ben-Gvir

and this far-right Jewish supremacist, Religious Zionism Party that will be now more than likely if Netanyahu forms the next government, Netanyahu's

senior most coalition partner.

And in return, they will demand senior coalition or ministerial positions, they will demand to have grave influence on Israeli policy, but with

respect to the Palestinians in the West Bank, but not only also in terms of domestic internal Israeli politics and society. So that is what the Israeli

country as a whole is looking at if the results of the exit polls actually hold.

QUEST: Okay. I like your caution there, if the exit polls hold.

But Neri, this other question of his corruption trial. Now, one of the issues in the election was how far Netanyahu would go or his party, his

coalition parties would force him for example, reform of the judiciary, reform of the Attorney General, reform of the law related it.

Now Netanyahu, though to be fair, we will take you, Neri, first, and then Yohanan. Neri, Netanyahu to be fair, has said he does not -- he won't

legislate his trial out of the window.

ZILBER: Well, he would say that ahead of Election Day, but he doesn't really need to say that himself. His partners in the Likud and even in

Religious Zionism, his far-right allies and in the Ultra-Orthodox Party have said it for him.

Over the past few months, they themselves have put forward their own proposals for what they termed reform. I think, that is a very soft

euphemism for what they plan to do through the independence of Israel's judiciary system.

So, he himself doesn't need to say it. They will take care of it for him and yes, I think number one on his agenda will be undertaking these efforts

to quash the power of say the Attorney General here or the Supreme Court and de facto that will effectively stop his corruption trial.


QUEST: Yohanan, if that is right, because this was an issue in the campaign, if he has won, I mean, the Israeli electorate is amongst the most

sophisticated in the world, goodness knows, they've been going to the polls often enough, more than most of us will ever do in a lifetime.

However, they knew this was a potential issue. So nobody can say, well, you never said you'd do it. They knew there was a potential. One of the big

policy points was reform of the judicial system. So, no one can complain if they actually do it.

PLESNER: Well, Richard, actually, Israelis cared about the questions of cost of living, Netanyahu strongly campaigned on those issues, and of

course, questions of safety and security.

There is a wave of many terror attacks that took place over the past few months. Mr. Netanyahu, tried to be quite mute on the questions of the

independence of the judiciary and various legislative initiatives that are designed to relieve him of his trial and the legal process that he is


So, when we actually poll Israelis on the specific initiatives that have to do with undermining the independence of the judiciary, undermining the

Attorney General, the independence of the State prosecutor, changing legislation that will make offenses like breach of trust, this is a cluster

of pieces of legislation, and that the pro-Netanyahu camp will probably, if he wins, try to initiate in order to relieve Mr. Netanyahu of his trial,

and to serve the interests of his coalition partners.

But when you poll Israelis on those issues, there is a huge majority against such initiatives. But Israelis when going to the polls, they voted

on security, they will get changes in the judiciary.

QUEST: Got it. Buy one, get the lot free, as they might say.

Gentlemen, stay with me. We will continue our discussion on this.

Allow me to just recap to you what we know so far. The polls have now been closed, 17 minutes in Israel, and according to all the major reputable exit

polls, they are suggesting Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud coalition will get sufficient seats to form a majority and therefore, a government.

You can see the numbers. The pro-Netanyahu, and at the end of the day, that's how we have to put it because that's what this election has been


Get 61 or 62, you need 60 to win. Fifty-four for the anti-Netanyahu block, four for the other parties, which can't defeat that. You see the way the

numbers are falling.

Lots more to discuss on the Israeli election.

This is CNN.



QUEST: Let me clarify for you, these pictures of those celebrations. It's not Likud, it is Jewish Power, the Religious Zionism, the party, the Jewish

Power of Ben-Gvir's party. They clearly believe they have won. They are the coalition partners of Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu.

And the way they're looking at the moment, if the exit polls are right, they will be taking place, they will be going into government with Mr.

Netanyahu, and they will be of course, the fight over which Cabinet posts, which Departments of government, they take over.

One of the biggest challenges for whichever party finally does it and the Israeli Prime Minister, its inflation. Inflation in Israel is 5.2 percent

in July, it's a 14-year high. Now, it is down somewhat because of the moves by the Bank of Israel, the Independent Bank of Israel. We had the Governor

on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS only recently talking about that.

The benchmark interest rate is at two and three quarter percent. That's the highest in a decade.

In a recent survey, once again, cost of living was the top issue of nearly half of Israeli voters because the one thing about Israel, although there's

certainly a lot of entrepreneurs, internet entrepreneurs, and there are a lot of extremely wealthy people with second homes in Israel, there's also a

great deal of lower middle class poverty and housing prices are through the roof and housing crises has become a staple of everyday life.

Jonathan Medved is the entrepreneur and CEO of the crowd funding platform, OurCrowd, he is with me from Jerusalem.

So it looks like -- I mean, I can caveat this until the cow comes home, but it looks like the Netanyahu coalition is headed back for government. What

will business make of it?

JONATHAN MEDVED, CEO, OURCROWD: I think business will be pretty much delighted when they look at it from an economic standpoint.

Remember, former Prime Minister and perhaps future Prime Minister Netanyahu has a degree from MIT. He has been an extraordinary economical leader in

Israel, responsible for much of the privatization that happened for the reform of the Tax Code and for a very supportive environment in government

for the technology juggernaut, which has pushed Israel's economy forward.

So my sense is that while Israel is part of the world economy, and we suffer from inflation, our inflation rates are one half those of the US and

Europe, our growth rate is still up at five percent. It is more than twice the average of the developed countries.

And in fact, the shekel is so strong -- that is the only traded currency that has actually strengthened against the dollar in the last 10 years. So,

I think we're starting from a pretty good position and I'm hoping that the new government, if it's led by Netanyahu, or if it's led by someone else,

will help to strengthen that even further.

QUEST: We can't ignore though the social unrest and I think back to 2011 and 2012, when the issue was one of housing, which is incredibly difficult,

and intractable, particularly in Tel Aviv, but also elsewhere.

Does Netanyahu make the disadvantaged a priority, and I'm thinking about the way in which he campaigned this time, a lot of his election stops were

to those who had out, basically saying, "I can help you."

MEDVED: Well, I think that's true, and if you look at for example, the socio economic background of the Netanyahu bloc versus the Lapid-led bloc,

the Lapid-led bloc is basically the elites, the wealthier population, whereas Netanyahu is the darling of the underprivileged and the lower

middle class and the working class.

So he understands that housing is a big issue, but you have to remember something, 70 percent of Israelis own their own houses today, which is a

remarkable percentage and while the housing prices went crazy, 19 percent increase last year alone and that bothers everybody.


MEDVED: Look, if you've got four kids -- and they've got kids, you want to make sure that your kids can get into this market. On the other hand,

you have to come up with creative solutions. So, I think that's going to be very high on the list on both the housing costs, as well as the overall

cost of living.

QUEST: I read your article, where you basically say, or an article where you say, if you look past Israel's bonkers politics, the economy is

thriving. And to the large extent that -- all right, I am going to say, it has taken me 25 minutes before I've used the phrase "startup nation," which

is probably an achievement when we talk about the Israeli economy. It's such a cliche.

MEDVED: Good for you, Richard.

QUEST: But it's taken me that long before I've finally used it, but if you take the startup nation, and you take the Israeli Defense Industries,

and you look at the groundbreaking work, whether it be on drones, or AI, is it still -- does it still have the cutting edge?

MEDVED: Oh, it completely has the cutting edge. In fact, it's getting sharper by the day.

There are a couple of big developments that have changed in the last decade or so. First of all, the offshore gas, and the energy economy has been

very, very positive. And we just got a deal done with Lebanon to make sure that that doesn't stop in any way and that is great.

Also, when you look at what's going on between Israel and our neighbors in the Gulf, the Abraham Accords, and the rapprochement and even, you know,

efforts with other countries that aren't formally at peace with Israel, I think the potential for economic growth as a result of these contacts and

engagements is extraordinary.

And in fact, the Minister of Economy of the UAE predicted a trillion dollars of economic impact over the next decade, and I am not sure we'll

get to that number, but it's going to be big.

QUEST: Jon, I am grateful for you. We'll talk to you more, because I absolutely want to go into that further details.

MEDVED: I look forward to it.

QUEST: Danny Danon on is with me, Chairman of World Likud, former Israeli PR to the United Nations. Well, you're at the celebrations. Have you won


DANNY DANON, CHAIRMAN, WORLD LIKUD: Well, we have a long night ahead of us, Richard.

The exit polls show that the Likud party and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be able to form the next government. We are very happy about that, and

basically what we saw today in Israel, is a show of non-confidence for Prime Minister Lapid, and a show of confidence for former Prime Minister


We are committed to make changes, to come back into government and to bring Israel back on tracks. We felt that the last year was a horrible year for

the population here in terms of security, economy, and we are determined to change it for the entire population of Israel, including those who haven't

voted for us today.

QUEST: Right. But what about the religious side of the coalition? The far-right side? Bringing into government people who have been convicted --

charged and convicted in some cases of unsavory offenses concerning race.

DANON: We have a democracy. And I ask you, and the rest of our friends around the world to respect our democracy, and we respect the choice of the

Israeli people, but I want to remind you that Prime Minister Netanyahu, together with me and my colleagues in the Likud, we will be the one who

will actually run the show in Israel.

We will be leading the government, Netanyahu will be the Prime Minister, we will have the majority in the coalition. So yes, we're going to have

different partners, but it is going to be a Likud-led government. And we have proven in the past that we are able to conduct the government of

Israel in very safe and stability, bringing the Abraham Accords and doing many, many good things for the people of Israel.

QUEST: So can you give us an assurance that no action or new rules or laws would be taken? I know the Netanyahu has suggested this, that nothing

will be done that could or would jeopardize his trial?

DANON: We have no intention to do anything regarding his trial. Prime Minister Netanyahu said it very clearly, he doesn't want anyone to

interfere with the trial. He believes that it will prove that he is innocent, and I believe it, too.

And the people of Israel today actually when you look at the results, Richard, almost one-fourth of every voter actually voted for Netanyahu. So

majority of the voters actually believe Netanyahu is innocent and is capable of running the government. We will do other things, but we will not

deal with his trial.


QUEST: I look forward to talking to you more about this, sir. I'm grateful, thank you.

We will continue the top story. The polls, the exit polls tonight pretty much saying Benjamin Netanyahu will resume as, he will return, I should

say, as Israel's prime minister. It could be a razor-thin majority.

But with his coalition, it looks like he has the numbers to form a government and be given the opportunity by the Israeli president to form a

government. And this will be the most extraordinary return to power from a man who everybody thought was down and out.




QUEST (voice-over): I'm Richard Quest. We have more coverage of Israeli elections in just a moment. Only after we can hear the news headlines. This

is CNN and as you would expect on this network, the news is first.


QUEST (voice-over): India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, has visited the site of Sunday's deadly bridge collapse. And he's met some of the families

of the victims. The disaster happened in his home state of Gujarat; 30 people were killed, dozens were hurt seriously.

Divers are still searching the river for any undiscovered bodies.

A Russian banking tycoon says he has renounced his citizenship to protest against the war in Ukraine. The billionaire, Oleg Tinkov, announced its

decision on Instagram and called Russia a fascist country. The United Kingdom sanctioned Tinkov in march for supporting Russia's invasion.


QUEST (voice-over): The rapper known as Takeoff was shot dead today in Houston, in Texas. The 28-year old was a member of the influential group,

Migos. A source close to the group confirmed his death to CNN.

The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed the release of former president Trump's tax returns (INAUDIBLE) turned over to Congress later this week. However,

chief justice John Roberts agreed to a temporary hold on the order.


QUEST: The voting is over. The first results are in. And the exit polls suggest Benjamin Netanyahu may have enough support to return to power. This

is from Channel 13. So this gives you an idea of how you get your numbers.

Look on the left of your screen. There you have the pro Netanyahu group. Likud is Netanyahu's party; 31, which is more than had been predicted by

one, you've got a coalition of the Religious Zionism and Jewish Power, the United Torah and Shas at 10.

On the other side, the anti Netanyahu, well, there you see how they're not going to manage to just get there. They haven't got enough. However,

Hadash/Taal and the other non aligned or non assigned Arabic parties, how they vote and many decide they won't give their votes, they won't

participate in either coalition.

That is when it starts to get even messier when you try to do the numbers. Hadas Gold is with me.

Those four mandates for the unaligned, how does that factor in?

I mean, if Netanyahu gets 62, it doesn't matter to some extent. He has an absolute majority.

But how does it factor in where the Arab parties and the unaligned go?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if those unaligned, if the Hadash party I mean, they could help support an anti Netanyahu bloc,

even if they aren't necessarily going to sit with the coalition.

But I think one thing we actually need to keep a closer eye on, Richard, is as we start getting more results, more of the exit polls start getting a

finesse just a bit more. Whether some of these other, smaller parties will cross the threshold and if they manage to get even just a seat, that could

change the dynamics.

I mean, we're getting reports now for one of Israeli channels, CON 11, saying that one of the Arab parties may be able to actually cross the

threshold. That could bring the results down to as close to possible, 60- 60, which means no one has the possible majority.

You can hear, though, the Bibi supporters behind me are starting to trickle in into his Election Night party. They sound very excited. They're

chanting, they are acting as though they have won, Richard.

QUEST: And even, I guess, even if it's 60-60 -- bearing in mind that the Netanyahu coalition has more, even if it doesn't get an absolute majority,

they probably arguably would be given the first opportunity to form a government.

GOLD: Yes, exactly. Richard, that's essentially what happened last time. It's that nobody had a clear majority. Netanyahu is given the mandate to

form the government. He was not able to convince enough votes to come over to his side.

We could see that happen again. If that happens, if Benjamin Netanyahu gets the first mandate and fails to form a government, then if he's likely that

Lapid will get his own chance to do so.

And if everybody fails, well, then Richard, then it goes to other elections, to a sixth election. That's still very much possibly in the

cards, as hard as it is to believe.

QUEST: Hadas in Jerusalem, thank you.

I must update you now on the fighting in Ukraine, where Western officials say Iran is preparing to give Russia more attack drones as well as guided

short-range missiles. Ukraine's air force is warning it currently has no active defenses against such missiles, which could reach across the whole


Both sides say the battle for Kherson is intensifying as Ukrainian forces are trying to break through Russian lines. Its civilians, of course, caught

in the cross fire. Ukraine says, some are being evicted by Russian-backed forces. Nic Robertson is with me. Nic is in Kramatorsk in Ukraine.

This is, I mean, we now have more firepower coming from Iran to Russia. This is going to get even more horrific.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: That's the concern of military officials here. The air force in particular, which has sort of got

a handle on shooting down pretty effectively the drones that the Shahed 146 drone that Russia has been firing, or sending over here, the Iranian made



ROBERTSON: But the concern is that these new missiles that Russia would get from Iran, some short-range ground to ground missiles, that were

perhaps even more accurate than what they have in their arsenal at the moment.

But the bigger concern is if they switch up to a more sophisticated Iranian drone, the Arash 2, it has a longer range. It has better intelligence on

board, if you will. This is a drone that can switch targets when it's in the air. The current drone that sort of set it off, it goes to the target

and down it comes with a bang if it's not intercepted.

But the new, one the Arash 2, could come down with an even bigger bang and it can carry up to five times the amount of explosives. So a more accurate,

more sophisticated, a longer range and potentially more deadly munition is what the Ukrainians are concerned that Russia may get with the new tranche

of weapons from Iran.

And on the front line here, that could make a difference. It would be expected that Russia would use it to target the power supply system across

the country as it has been recently, perhaps with more devastating effect though it is has had a lot of effect in the past three weeks.

But used along the front line, it would equally, you know, dent Ukraine's ability to push forward. In this area here, where we are in Kramatorsk

there, were 14 Russian missiles came down into here in the early hours of this morning in the local town of Bakhmut. Missiles came down there. One

civilian was killed.

Other towns around here, heavily contested. The Ukrainians feel like they're making a bit of ground on around a key highway here. But again, all

of these become harder to achieve and harder to keep if Russia has a more effective arsenal of weapons, such as they could potentially get from Iran.

QUEST: One quick question. I'm constantly surprised that a country with such massive nuclear forces and such a vast army and supposedly

sophisticated weaponry and armory is relying on essentially Iranian drones.

ROBERTSON: Well, Western analysts think President Putin miscalculated. At many levels that there is so much corruption in his military and an

inability to pass up accurate information up the chain of command, politicians as well, that Putin did not understand the flaws and weaknesses

in his military, that he thought had been raised up to a better level over the past decade.

So when he went into Ukraine on a false premise that they would be welcomed in, that was wrong; the military wasn't up to the job, got chased out. They

expended far more weaponry than he ever anticipated that's in this deep. It's his decision, his political neck on the, line if you will, if he


So now he finds himself turning to Iran, when perhaps he never expected. It seems like a war that he's fighting one week at a time, you know, buy

weapons from Iran, get conscription going, fill the holes, try to find other ways to replace the weapons that you've lost through the war so far.

It really is somewhat ad hoc in some ways.

QUEST: Nic Robertson in Ukraine, thank you, sir, Nic, be safe. Thank you.

We will have more in just a moment.





QUEST: Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has said he will follow all the orders and prescriptions of the constitution. In a statement that can

widely be read as a concession without actually using the words, "I lost," he did manage to say that there would be some form of transition, which his

chief of staff ministers now has said he's authorized to begin a transition process.

Paula Newton is with me from Sao Paulo.

Paula, it wasn't very gracious. He never congratulated Lula. He didn't even say they won, I lost. But reading between the lines, he's off.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's much more complicated than that and, unfortunately, for Brazil, still much more fragile, in terms

of that transition process, how it will start and when it will start.

I will tell you why, Richard. Protesters that are behind me, those who are blocking the roads throughout the country in the last 24 hours, they

listened to the same speech you and I did, Richard. They are saying, that's not what they have heard.

They did not hear anyone asking them to stand down and, more to the point, they did not hear anyone conceding this election. Now, yes, it is true; the

apparatus of government there will continue. Bolsonaro at least pledged to stay with what he called the parameters, the four corners of the

constitution. That's all good news.

At issue now, though, is how much more, quite frankly, many Brazilians and the economy can take. Richard, I don't have to remind you what a fragile

situation the economy isn't already. We've had supply routes definitely interrupted from this. We've had a little bit of chaos at the Sao Paulo


All things that Brazil can get over relatively quickly if these protests come to an end. And that's a question right now. From protesters I've

spoken to, they have no really -- there's nothing stopping them, they tell us, from staying out here and continuing to block traffic.

They heard Bolsonaro's speech, they say that what they hear in that speech is to continue until he definitively says he accepts the results.

QUEST: So what's it going to take to get that?

NEWTON: That is also a very good question. Listen, it must be said that Bolsonaro has a lot of power within this country still. The reason, whether

you look at local governments or state governments, they are run now by Bolsonaro allies.

They will be putting more pressure on the president to say, look, we need to run this country. We cannot have this kind of chaos. It will hopefully,

in the next few hours, days, weeks, things will come down.

And those allies, who have power, who are sitting in positions of power throughout Brazil, will continually say, it is time to move on from what

has been an incredibly divisive election.

And that this country needs to be able to rehabilitate itself on an economic point of view and clearly from a political point of view, which I

have to tell you, Richard, is divided. Not just people in this country, people within families in this country.

It's been incredibly hurtful to so many and they want to begin with president Lula elect now, who's going to have to try and bring those

coalitions together.

QUEST: Paula, thank you.

President Lula elect is how Paula described the returning president of Brazil. So two elections in one week and both would appear to have returned

politicians that previously, we thought, were over and done, out and forgotten because tonight, also, never mind Brazil; in Israel, the polls

are pointing to a return to power of Benjamin Netanyahu elect. We don't have official results yet.


QUEST: We have exit polls but they tend to be fairly accurate in Israel. And so far, it shows Netanyahu's coalition with a majority.





QUEST (voice-over): The Likud coalition is celebrating. This is, we believe, the party at the Jewish power headquarters, with Itamar Ben-Gvir's

party. They were a little more celebrating a few moments ago but maybe they are waiting to see the results.

The results at the moment do show -- the exit polls, I should say, show Benjamin Netanyahu on the cusp of a return to power in Israel; 62 for his

bloc, 54 for the anti-Netanyahu.

So with 62, Netanyahu has a majority. Election exit favor polls, the former prime minister winning enough seats, forming a government. They are not

results, projections but they are good ones and they tend to be accurate.

Yohanan Plesner is president of The Israel Democracy Institute in Tel Aviv. He is with me now.

Let's forget the numbers, I mean, just give me your gut reaction. Having covered Israeli democracy and politics for so many years, your gut reaction

to what is the most extraordinary scene of events tonight.

YOHANAN PLESNER, THE ISRAEL DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE: Well, first of all, we see Israelis so involved in public life, that in a fifth election campaign,

in such a short period, in the country's longest and deepest political crisis, Israelis show up, Israelis participate, all sectors of Israeli

society, including the weaker economic sectors like the ultraorthodox community that showed up in record numbers, and the Arab minority, Israeli

Arab citizens also showing up and demonstrating faith in the Israeli democratic process.

So I think it's generally good news for Israeli democracy. Interestingly and sometimes it tends to be this way in elections, ballot party, it's a

third party representing the Arab minority.


PLESNER: It's just apparently a few thousand votes away from crossing the threshold of 3.25 percent of the entire vote. If they cross the threshold,

then the Netanyahu bloc would probably lose its majority and we would end up in something that is close to 60-60.

So we really have to wait a little longer for the final results, perhaps even until tomorrow morning Israel time, until we have a better sense

whether this ballot party does cross the threshold or not.

QUEST: Sir, I'm grateful for your help tonight and particularly for that caveat. Thank you very much indeed for joining us in our coverage.

Because what we've learned is, of course, the complexity of the Israeli electoral system, with its proportional representation, does mean that

those smaller parties, if they suddenly take seats, those seats have to come from somewhere and they come from the larger parties.

So it ain't over yet but it's looking like it's, well, whichever party got the most votes and certainly got the most seats. Let's wait and see. And

that's our special edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS with the Israeli elections. I'm Richard Quest. As always, whatever you are up to in the

hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. I will see you tomorrow.