Netanyahu's Likud Gets 40 Seats in Election Poll as Gantz's Party Drops to 19

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the media, Jerusalem, March 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the media, Jerusalem, March 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party would garner 40 seats if an election was held on Monday, according to a poll published on Channel 12 News, climbing up four seats from the 36 it earned in Israel's March 2 election.

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan, which splintered off from Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, would have 19 seats – a far cry from the 33 it got in March. Gantz's former partners, Lapid and Moshe Ya'alon, who joined forces after the split, got 10 seats in the survey.

The Arab-majority Joint List would gain 15 seats, while Meretz, which last week split from its union with Labor, would gain 5 seats.

The Labor party, whose progenitor formed the state of Israel, would not pass the electoral threshold according to the poll. The sephardic ultra-Orthodox Shas earned 9 seats, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett's Yamina got 8, while United Torah Judaism and Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu received 7 seats. Orli Levi-Abeksis' Gesher and the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit also did not make it into the Knesset in the poll.

These numbers give the right-wing bloc a clear majority of 64 seats to form a coalition, while the opposition remains fractured.

Kahol Lavan party and Netanyahu's Likud resumed negotiations to form a unity government on Monday, a joint statement by the two parties said, after talks had reached a standstill over the matter of appointing judges.

Gantz's mandate to form a coalition expires at midnight on Monday, at which point it will return to Israel's president, who is expected to give it to the Knesset. In such a scenario, any lawmaker who can secure 61 recommendations from the parliament will be able to build a coalition.

Netanyahu, at the end of a statement announcing an intercity coronavirus curfew for Israelis during the second holiday of Passover, said that efforts persist to form a unity government.

"Even if this doesn't happen by midnight, we will do everything within our power to promote this," he said.

Speaking after Netanyahu, Gantz said the two had reached agreements that he hoped the prime minister will fulfill. "This is our moment of truth, it's either an emergency national unity government or a redundant fourth election."

Netanyahu responded on Twitter, saying: "Benny, I await you at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem – let's meet and sign even tonight a deal to form an emergency national unity government that will save lives and act for the citizens of Israel."

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