Polls Show No Coalition in Repeat, While Liberman Gains

YERUSHALAYIM -
A man folds a banner depicting Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beytenu, Thursday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The first opinion polls out since Wednesday night’s debacle in the Knesset indicated that an election rerun will solve nothing, only giving Avigdor Liberman more votes.

The outcome on September 17 will likely be much the same, leaving Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu again unable to form a coalition without the votes of Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, according to the Channel 13 poll.

The poll forecast 57 seats for the Likud-led right-wing bloc versus 54 seats for the centrist-left-Arab bloc, led by the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz. With Likud refusing to talk to Liberman (as is now the case) and Liberman refusing to throw his support to Gantz (also still the case), another stalemate emerges.

It was noted, though, that while Liberman said on Thursday that he would not recommend Gantz for prime minister next time, he did not say that he would not sit in a coalition with him.

Indeed, the spoiler from Kishinev could have even more power to make or break. According to the findings, Liberman has profited from his maneuverings, with 9 seats, almost double his current 5.

Party by party, Likud, now merged with Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, would take 36 seats, Blue and White 33, Shas and United Torah Judaism with 7 apiece (down from 8 each in April), the Union of Right-Wing Parties 7 (up from 5), Hadash-Ta’al 7 (up from 6); Meretz 6 (up from 4); Labor 4 (down from 6) and Ra’am-Balad 4 (unchanged).

Another poll, by the Kan state broadcaster, yielded similar results: 58 for the right-wing bloc, 54 for the centrist-left-Arab bloc, and Liberman in the middle with 8.

By party: Likud 35, Blue and White 34, Yisrael Beytenu 8, United Torah Judaism 8, Shas 7, Hadash-Ta’al 6, Labor and Meretz 5 each, and Union of Right-Wing Parties, the New Right and Ra’am-Balad 4 each.