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Newest polls show Israeli elections still favor Netanyahu after Left split

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is investigating the police recommendations urging Netanyahu's indictment for bribery in three separate cases -- dubbed Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000.
(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

According to two polls released by Israeli TV media on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party remains the decided frontrunner in upcoming elections while many parties currently seated in Israel's Knesset will not gain enough votes to return.

The polls by Israel’s Hadashot TV and Kan public broadcaster revealed that if elections were held today, the center-left Labor party would garner only one third of the seats it currently fills in Israel’s parliament (Knesset).

The polls come the day after Labor chief Avi Gabbay publicly ousted Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni from their Zionist Union alliance and from her post as leader of Israel’s opposition.

Yossi Yonah, a Labor MK, told i24NEWS that he did not appreciate Gabbay’s choice to divide the Zionist Union, saying “it is the job of the chairman to unite, not to disintegrate.”

It is important in the upcoming election that all parties from the Center to Left unite against the current government, he added.

It turns out Israelis who participated in recent polls may agree. Last election, the Zionist Union earned 24 seats. In these polls, the Labor party by itself receives no more than eight following the Gabbay-Livni split.

AP photos

In the Hadashot poll, Livni as a stand-alone party leader manages to earn five seats, narrowly passing the electoral threshold (approximately four seats).

The Kan poll shows a grimmer picture for Livni in which she and several other parties currently holding seats do not earn enough mandates to pass the threshold.

Bayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home) does not earn enough votes to pass the threshold, according to Kan.

Both polls have Likud leading by significant amounts, somewhere between 28-31 seats. Ex-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz places second in both polls with 12 to 14 seats. HaHadashot’s poll found that the Arab Joint List, an alliance of Israel’s Arab and minority lawmakers, also earns 12 seats. Yesh Atid (There is a Future) headed by Yair Lapid receives between 11-13 seats.

Hayamin Hehadash (The New Right) headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett receives six seats (according to Hadashot) or nine seats (according to Kan).

Hayamin HeHadash

Interestingly, Kan polled the possibility of a Gantz-Livni partnership and found that the two would receive 15 seats, to a corresponding 31 for Likud and 11 for Yesh Atid.

40 percent of Israelis prefer Netanyahu as Prime Minister regardless of who he is up against, compared to 30 percent who prefer Gantz and 24 percent who would prefer Lapid.

Both polls show that Israel’s Right maintains the majority with 62 to 63 seats while the Center-Left parties earn 57 to 58 seats.

Israel’s Left has not been in control of the government for decades, and many in Israel wonder if the dominance of Netanyahu’s Likud will come to an end as the PM faces the possibility of multiple corruption charges.

Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, is currently reviewing recommendations from state prosecutors to indict Netanyahu on at least three charges of bribery and corruption.

According to Israeli law, the Prime Minister need not step down in the event that he or she faces criminal charges. It is up to the Attorney General to determine if Netanyahu continues leading in the event that he goes on trial.

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