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March 10, 2019 7:04 pm

New Poll Shows Netanyahu Gaining on Rivals, Likely to Form Next Government

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Likud supporters hold a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an election campaign event in Ramat Gan, March 4, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen / File.

A new poll of Israeli voters published on Sunday showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party gaining on its nearest rival, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party, and appearing likely to form the next government after elections in April.

The poll conducted for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot indicates that while Blue and White would still gain the most Knesset seats, Netanyahu is better positioned to form a working coalition with the other right-wing and religious parties.

Blue and White leads the poll with 33 seats, three or four seats down from previous poll results. Likud comes in at 29. The center-left Labor party would win ten. Religious parties Yahadut HaTorah and Shas would win seven and six seats, respectively. Arab parties the Joint List and Balad would win seven and four seats respectively.

The national-religious Union of Right-Wing Parties, which includes the controversial far-right Otzma Yehudit party, would win six. Left-wing Meretz would take five seats. The New Right party would win five as well. Center-right parties Yisrael Beiteinu and Kulanu would both win four.

Further complicating the picture are the hard-right Zehut party and centrist Gesher party, both of which polled below the threshold to enter the Knesset, potentially wasting right-wing and centrist votes that could have gone to the larger parties.

The results show Netanyahu would be able to put a narrow right-wing coalition together consisting of 61 out of 120 Knesset seats.

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