A new party headed by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz would take 12 parliamentary seats in a general election, according to a poll by the Israel Television News Company released on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud would take 29 seats, while Yesh Atid would be the second-largest party with 13 and the Zionist Union would fall to to 10 seats in the first election since Avi Gabbay became its chairman, the poll said.
If Gantz decides not to run, Likud would take 32 seats – two more seats than the last poll conducted by the Israel Television News Company. In this scenario, Yesh Atid, led by chairman Yair Lapid, would be the second-largest party 18 seats. Trailing behind were the Zionist Union with 12, the Joint List with 12 and Habayit Hayehudi with 10. According to the poll, Kulanu and United Torah Judaism would each receive seven seats, while Meretz and a party headed by Orli Levi-Abekasis would each receive six. Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas would each receive five seats.
In Israel, a party must gain a minimum of 3.25 percent of all votes (equivalent to about four seats) to pass the electoral threshold.
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In the previous poll by the Israel Television News Company, conducted last July, Likud received 30 seats. The poll assigned 19 seats to Yesh Atid, 15 to the Zionist Union and 12 to the Joint List. Habayit Hayehudi received eight seats. United Torah Judaism, Kulanu and Yisrael Beiteinu each received seven seats. Orli Levi-Abekasis's party had five seats, as did Meretz and Shas.
Netanyahu said last month that in the next election, "35 seats would be acceptable and 40 is our aim."