Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said Sunday that he would not use his planned new party to prevent the formation of a right-wing coalitions after the next elections.
Ya’alon was responding to a Friday Channel 2 survey poll which showed his unnamed new party heading for four seats in the Knesset, and potentially serving as one of a group of parties that could muster 60 seats and thus prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming the next government.
“I won’t be the one that would prevent the formation of a right-wing government,” Ya’alon said.
“The attempt to connect him (Ya’alon) with the left-wing preventative bloc along with the Joint (Arab) List is ridiculous. Bogie (represents) the sane, responsible right,” a statement from his office added, using Ya’alon’s nickname.
The Channel 2 poll indicated that if national elections were held today, Netanyahu’s Likud party could find it very difficult to form a coalition and might even find itself in the opposition along with a number of its current right-wing coalition partners. It gave Yesh Atid 26 seats, to the Likud’s 22.
Presenting the survey, Channel 2 recognized that pollsters had wrongly predicted the results of the US elections, the UK Brexit vote and Israel’s 2015 elections. Nonetheless, it noted that such surveys are taken seriously by Israel’s politicians and that upcoming leadership primaries in the Jewish Home and Zionist Union parties underline the growing sense in Israel that elections are imminent if Netanyahu’s legal problems — he is being probed over two sets of graft allegations — intensify.
According to the poll results, the Yesh Atid party could form a bloc, made up of its 26 seats, center-left Zionist Union’s 11 seats, the left-wing Meretz’s 6 seats, the Joint (Arab) List’s 13 seats, and the 4 seats belonging to the new party recently announced by Ya’alon. This would give them 60 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset and, according to Channel 2, could force Netanyahu to form a national unity government with Lapid in this scenario.
For the first time, the survey outcomes suggested that Lapid’s party was gaining at the expense of right-wing parties Likud and Jewish Home rather than just the Zionist Union as had been indicated in the past. This too improves Yesh Atid’s chances to form the next government.