Blue and White’s stated policy has been to refuse to join forces with the Likud if Netanyahu remains at the helm because of pending criminal indictments.
By World Israel News Staff
As the race between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Blue and White headed by MK Benny Gantz remains tight, a poll published Monday shows the Likud with a slim lead.
The survey, conducted by the Midgam Institute and released by the Walla! news outlet, gives the Likud 31 seats in the 120-member parliament compared to Blue and White’s 29.
The United Right, headed by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and Joint List, a conglomeration of predominantly Arab non-Zionist parties, follow with 11 seats each.
Israel Beiteinu, headed by MK Avigdor Liberman, whose refusal to join a Netanyahu government following the April election resulted in a return to the polls for Israelis on September 17, continues to place itself as a kingmaker, with 10 seats, according to the Walla! poll, holding the balance of power between a right-wing and left-wing government.
Haredi religious parties United Torah Judaism and Shas follow with eight and seven seats respectively.
The new left-center bloc called Democratic Camp would win seven seats, says Walla!, while the once-mighty Labor Party brings up the rear with six parliamentary seats.
The ongoing split between the two largest parties continues to raise the question of whether Likud and Blue and White should join forces to form a national unity government.
Liberman has repeatedly stated that his party would only join such a government after the September election.
However, Blue and White’s stated policy has been to refuse to join forces with the Likud if Netanyahu remains at the helm because of pending criminal indictments against the incumbent premier.
The Midgam/Walla! poll shows that 52 percent of those asked opposed a unity government if headed by Netanyahu, compared to 34 percent who support such a scenario.
Though the gap with Blue and White is narrow, a Likud-headed unity government is considered a more likely prospect because the right-wing and religious parties continue to hold an overall lead in the polls. A prime ministerial rotation between Netanyahu and Gantz – splitting the term in office – has also been raised as a possibility.
Monday’s survey shows that there is greater opposition to a Netanyahu-led government on the left of the political spectrum but that among Blue and White voters, a majority supports such a prospect, while in the Likud, more people are against a national unity government than those who like the idea.