As Shaked takes over New Right

Polls give right-wing alliance headed by Shaked 12-13 seats

Surveys indicate Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu remains kingmaker of next coalition

Ayelet Shaked, former Minister of Justice and head of the New Right party speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, July 21, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Ayelet Shaked, former Minister of Justice and head of the New Right party speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, July 21, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A pair of television polls aired Sunday gave an alliance of the New Right and Union of Right-Wing Parties headed by Ayelet Shaked 12-13 seats in parliament, if September’s Knesset elections were held today. Shaked was announced earlier Sunday as the New Right’s new leader.

If Shaked’s New Right and Rafi Peretz’s URWP ran separately, they would pick up six and five seats respectively, for a combined total of 11, according to a Channel 12 TV news survey. However, together on a combined slate with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party and under Shaked’s leadership, the alliance would get 13 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, the poll found.

That two-seat gain came at the expense of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, which the survey predicted would win 28 seats and be overtaken by the centrist Blue and White as the largest party with 29 seats.

With New Right and URWP running separately, Likud would win 30 seats while Blue and White would have 29, the survey indicated.

The third-largest party would likely be the expected combined slate of Arab parties with 11 seats.

Yisrael Beytenu, led by hawkish MK Avigdor Liberman, would win 9 seats, up from the five it won in the April elections, according to the poll.

Top row L-R: Michael Ben Ari, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich.
Middle row L-R: Moshe Feiglin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett.
Bottom row L-R: Ayelet Shaked, Baruch Marzel, Rafi Peretz. (Flash90)

The two ultra-Orthodox parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas, would win eight and seven seats respectively. The recently announced alliance of the Labor and Gesher parties was predicted to win seven seats while the left-wing Meretz and Israel Democratic, led by former prime minister Ehud Barak, would both hover just above the threshold with four seats each.

Zehut, the quasi-libertarian party, was predicted to gain just 1.8% of the vote, far short of the 3.75% needed to beat the threshold for entry into parliament.

Otzma Yehudit was not expected to gain enough support on its own to pass the threshold.

Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman holds a press conference following the dissolving of the Knesset, and ahead of the new elections, in Tel Aviv, on May 30, 2019. (Flash90)

A poll by the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday found New Right would get eight seats and URWP would pick up four if they ran separately, which was identical to the 12 seats they were predicted by the survey to win if they ran on a joint list.

Like the Channel 12 poll, the Kan survey had Blue and White narrowly beating out Likud as the largest party if the Shaked-led alliance is indeed formed, with 29 for Gantz’s party and 28 for Likud.

However, Kan gave Yisrael Beytenu 10 seats and the same for the combined Arab list.

In both polls, Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu is again forecast to be kingmaker, with neither right-wing or left-wing blocs able to form a ruling coalition of more than 60 seats without his right-wing secularist faction.

It was Liberman’s refusal to join a Netanyahu-led coalition after the April elections due to a negotiation impasse with ultra-Orthodox parties that resulted in the dissolving of parliament and new elections being set for September 17. Netanyahu fumed at Liberman over his refusal and Likud officials have since vowed they won’t form a government with Yisrael Beytenu.

The polls were published shortly after New Right announced that Shaked would be taking over as leader of the party for the upcoming elections.

Although Shaked has strong backing to lead a joint slate of smaller right-wing parties, the current URWP leader MK Peretz opposes the idea, and allegedly so does Netanyahu.

A UNRWP official told the Times of Israel that Netanyahu called Peretz three times in the last 24 hours urging him to refuse a merger led by Shaked.

The Channel 12 online survey, carried out by Mano Geva, polled 502 participants on Sunday with a 4.4% margin of error.

Details were not available for the Kan poll.

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