New Poll Shows Likud Still Centerpiece of Gov’t

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After a series of polls that showed its rival Yesh Atid as the largest vote-getter in the coming elections, the Likud has made a comeback in the polls. A new poll by Maariv on Tuesday places the Likud as the largest party if elections are held now. The Likud would get 26 seats in the Knesset, compared to 22 for Yesh Atid. Based on the results of the poll, the Likud would still be the most likely party to build a new coalition if elections were held today.

Several polls in December and January had placed Yesh Atid as the largest party. A Channel Two poll from the end of January indicated that the largest party in the Knesset would be Yesh Atid, which would achieve 26 mandates, with the Likud coming in second, with 24. A similar poll a week earlier by Channel Ten and Walla News showed similar results.

Despite falling in favor among voters, Yesh Atid would still be the second largest party in the Knesset by far, with most of its votes coming from constituents who abandoned Zionist Camp. The party led by Yitzchak Herzog would get only 12 Knesset seats, results consistent with recent polls. Jewish Home continues to show strength, and would receive 13 seats, making it the third largest party in the Knesset, tied with United Arab List.

The results of the polling for the rest of the parties in the Knesset are also consistent with recent polls. Chareidi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism would each get seven seats, as would Yisrael Beytenu and Kulanu. Meretz would receive six seats, according to the poll.

Despite the close numbers for Likud and Yesh Atid – and even if the latter party were to emerge as the biggest party in the Knesset – the likelihood of Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid’s forming a government is slim. While they may not agree with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on everything, both Shas and UTJ would almost certainly not join a coalition with Lapid. Jewish Home would also be very unlikely to do so, as the more religious elements of the party would resist that idea. That gives a Netanyahu government more than 50 seats in the Knesset, a figure Lapid would be unable to beat unless he brought United Arab List into his government – another extremely unlikely scenario.

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