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Poll shows no clear path to future government, with Netanyahu-led bloc weakening

Likud predicted to bring in 34 mandates in Maariv survey, but parties fiercely loyal to former PM would only make up 57 seats in the Knesset

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on November 8, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

If elections were held today, the Likud-led bloc comprised of far-right and religious parties and the bloc of eight parties in the outgoing Bennett-Lapid coalition would receive an equal number of mandates, a new poll finds.

The poll, conducted by the Panels Politics Institute and published Friday by the Maariv daily, indicates that parties will struggle to form a new stable government following the likely next election unless factions show a willingness to shift their allegiances.

The poll found that opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would receive 34 mandates, Yesh Atid headed by Yair Lapid 21, Religious Zionism led by Bezalel Smotrich 9, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White 8, United Torah Judaism led by Moshe Gafni 7, Merav Michaeli’s Labor 7, Aryeh Deri’s Shas 7, Joint List led by Ayman Odeh 6, and Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu 5.

According to the recent poll, Naftali Bennett’s Yamina, Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope, Mansour Abbas’s Ra’am, and Nitzan Horowitz’s Meretz parties would all receive 4 mandates, the minimum required to cross the electoral threshold.

According to this estimation, each designated bloc would receive 57 mandates, with the remaining six seats going to the Joint List, which does not support either bloc. But the eight parties forming the current government will not necessarily remain united following their fractious coalition experience.

Abbas has indicated he would consider sitting with any makeup of parties, although the far-right Religious Zionism party has nixed such an alliance. Members of Yamina have never ruled out sitting with Netanyahu in the future, but the ties between the parties have frayed under Bennett’s premiership.

Workers count votes in Israel’s national elections, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 25, 2021. (AP/Maya Alleruzzo)

If deadlock reigns following the next election, Israel could potentially head to a sixth national vote since 2019.

While Friday’s poll showed a significant transition of votes from previous Yamina supporters to Likud and Religious Zionism, it also showed much stronger support for the left-wing Meretz party, bringing it back to the political map with four mandates compared to previous polls that showed it falling below the threshold.

The Maariv poll appears to show a weakening of the Netanyahu-loyal bloc compared with previous polls conducted over the past week. The Kan public broadcaster predicted Netanyahu’s bloc would win 60 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, while the coalition parties would receive 54 if an election were held today.

A poll from Channel 12 news, meanwhile predicted a 59 to 56 split, and Channel 13 news predicted 59 to 55.

In the March 2021 elections, Netanyahu’s bloc of loyalists — made up of Likud (30), Shas (9), United Torah Judaism (7) and Religious Zionism (6) — mustered only 52 seats in total.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen in the plenum hall of the Knesset during voting in the presidential elections, in Jerusalem, June 2, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

But Friday’s poll also indicated that the parties whose voters were most confident in their decision were United Torah Judaism, Shas and Likud, all part of the Netanyahu-led bloc.

It found that a quarter of previous Yamina voters didn’t know who they would vote for in the upcoming elections.

The Maariv poll was conducted between June 22-23 and included 727 participants.

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