In First Election Poll Since Knesset Dissolved, Gantz Ahead but No Clear Majority

Kahol Lavan is predicted a slight advantage over Netanyahu's Likud, but Gantz would need Lieberman and the acquiescence of Arab lawmakers to form a government

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Haaretz
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Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, October 11, 2019.
Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, October 11, 2019.Credit: Ohad Zweygberg
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Haaretz

Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party would get 35 out 120 Knesset seats in the March 2 election, according to the Channel 12 News poll published Thursday, while Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud would get 32, a result similar to that of the previous two election cycles in which neither party was able to form a governing coalition.

The right-wing bloc, comprised of Likud, ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism and Hayamin Hehadash, is predicted to win 54 seats in what will be Israel's third election within a year. The center-left bloc of Kahol Lavan, Labor-Gesher and the Democratic Union is predicted to win 45 seats.

The four-party Arab alliance of the Joint List, which most probably will not join a Gantz-led government but is also unlikely to vote against it, is predicted to keep its power with 13 seats. Finally, Yisrael Beitenu also keeps its power with 8 seats, and as in previous cycles, Avigdor Lieberman is expected to be kingmaker.

This is the first poll published since the Knesset dissolved itself on Wednesday night and voted to hold a new election on March 2, 2020, Israel's third election in one year.

Also Thursday, Lieberman said that his party would support granting pardon to Netanyahu in the three corruption cases he is charged in if he retires from public life.

Addressing the option for the premier to receive immunity from prosecution, Lieberman noted that Netanyahu "won't have a majority to seek immunity, even Likud members are expressing their share of objections [against immunity]."

Netanyahu and Likud party rival Gideon Sa’ar have agreed their party will hold a leadership primary election on December 26. Speaking during a tour of Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar – which Israel intends to demolish in violation of international law - Sa'ar said that Netanyahu will not be able to form a government, even after a third election.

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