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Polls suggest small right-wing parties could disappear

Israeli opinion polls suggest two potential coalition partners for a Likud led Government would fall below the 3.25 per cent threshold and fail to get elected to the new Israeli Parliament on 9 April.

According to polls by Kan, Yisrael Hayom and Channel 13, the ruling Likud party will win the next election with 28 to 31 seats. The nearest challengers are former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s Resilience Party with 12 to 14 seats and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid with 10-13 seats. The Joint Arab List is consistently polling at 12 seats.

According to the Kan and Yisrael Hayom polls, the Jewish Home and Shas party would not receive 3.25 per cent of the vote, the minimum requirement for a party to win seats in the Israeli Parliament under the proportional representation voting system. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his preference to form his next Government from the same parties that governed Israel from 2015 – 2018.

Netanyahu is still the public’s first choice for Prime Minister. According to the Channel 13 poll, 33 per cent of respondents preferred Netanyahu and 28 per cent preferred Gantz. Twenty-seven per cent said they wanted neither candidate. When the choice was between Netanyahu and Lapid, Netanyahu was preferred by 38 per cent to Lapid’s 17 per cent.

Kan Radio News has reported that the Kulanu party could merge with the Likud before the elections are held. Kulanu issued a statement in response, saying that it had been established as an alternative to the Likud and that it will run independently.

Hahadashot News reports that merger talks are ongoing between leaders of the Ultra-Orthodox parties — Shas, Agudat Yisrael and Degel Hatorah (the latter two merged to form United Torah Judaism).

Former Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon yesterday registered his new party called ‘Telem’, an Israel acronym that translates as “National Statesmanlike Movement”.

Ya’alon said his new party would serve as an “independent political force” and help put the “country back on the right track”. Ya’alon’s party is not expected to receive more than 3.25 per cent of the vote, but there are reports Ya’alon is talking to Gantz about a potential merger.