Poll: Likud would win 29 seats if new elections held

Amid coalition crisis and interrogations, survey finds Netanyahu would continue to lead country, Yesh Atid closest challenger

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Likud party faction meeting at the Knesset on February 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Likud party faction meeting at the Knesset on February 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

With its coalition partners threatening to force early elections, Likud would win 29 seats in the Knesset if fresh elections were held today, despite the corruption allegations surrounding its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a poll published on Sunday found.

Although one seat fewer than its current tally, the Channel 10 poll result was the best yet for the party since police recommended last month that Netanyahu be indicted in a pair of corruption cases, while questioning him as a suspect in a third.

Following Likud in the poll was the Yesh Atid party, which would win 24 seats (11). The opposition Zionist Union would win 12 seats (24) and the Joint (Arab) List would win 12, one fewer than its current total.

Rounding out the poll, right-wing Jewish Home would win 10 seats (10), the left-wing Meretz would win 8 seats (5), Kulanu 7 (10), Yisrael Beytenu 7 (5), United Torah Judaism 6 (6) and Shas 5 (7). Those figures mean that the parties in the current coalition would hold 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

The network polled 701 people and the survey a standard deviation of 3.8 percent.

The poll came days after investigators questioned Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem for five hours in the Bezeq corruption probe, while simultaneously questioning his wife, Sara, at the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit’s headquarters in Lod. Interrogators reportedly informed her that she was also a suspect in the case.

After the questioning session Netanyahu said he felt “more sure than ever before” that nothing would come of the latest corruption investigation.

The polls take on more significance with early elections possibly on the horizon, as the head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party continued to threaten a coalition crisis that could bring down the government.

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) has been threatening to boycott voting on the state budget vote if a law on exempting the ultra-Orthodox from mandatory military service was not passed first, but coalition partner Avigdor Liberman, the defense minister, has vowed his Yisrael Beytenu party will not allow such a measure to pass.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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