How much is an indictment of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “worth” to the opposition? Not much, a poll on Army Radio Tuesday indicates. According to the poll, if Netanyahu is actually indicted before the April elections, the Likud would get 25 seats in the Knesset – four fewer than it would if no indictment were handed down.
An indictment before the election would be a very unlikely event, political observers believe; even if State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit were to recommend that an indictment be handed down against the Prime Minister on corruption charges, Netanyahu is entitled to a hearing with Mandelblit before the final recommendation is made – and preparing for that hearing might take weeks. Even so, the Likud appears resilient enough as a party to survive a full-on indictment, according to the poll.
As it stands today, the Likud would get 29 seats, by far the largest party. Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party – which has yet to release a platform – would be second, with 13; Yesh Atid would get 13 as well. Labor would get 9, the New Right Party 7, United Torah Jewry 7, Shas 6, and Jewish Home 4. Yisrael Beytenu would get 5, as would Kulanu, Meretz, and Orly Levy-Abukasis’s Gesher. The United Arab List would get 6, as would the Arab Ta’al list.
If Netanyahu is indicted, however, the Likud would fall to 25 seats. The four seats the party would lose would go to Gantz, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu, and Yisrael Beytenu, each of which would get an additional seat over the nonindictment poll results. In either case, Netanyahu, or whoever would be leading the Likud list, would have first crack at forming a government, and if all the parties that were members of Netanyahu’s 2015 coalition (with the addition of the New Right) joined the coalition, the Likud would be able to form a coalition, with 63 seats, or 61 in the indictment version of the poll.