Vote-Sharing Deal to Be Signed Between Gantz and Liberman

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel elections
Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz (L) and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman confirmed Sunday night that he is set to sign a vote-sharing agreement with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, a development that could have significant impact on the electoral outcome in September.

Liberman downplayed the move, calling it merely “a technical step, I see no problem with it, no other party was available, Netanyahu is left-wing, etc…” he was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post.

Surplus-vote sharing agreements enable votes for one party to be transferred to another if they both have votes beyond the amount a seat is calculated to be worth. Calculations are made to determine whether there are enough surplus votes between the two to give the party with more extra votes an additional Knesset seat.

Liberman characterized it as a minor practical matter. “I see no problem with this technical step,” he said. “We made an agreement with [then-New Right co-leader] Ayelet Shaked last time, and her party is making a deal with Likud this time, so no other party was available. And anyway, Netanyahu is not really right-wing either.”

However, if the race turns out to be close, as it was in April, and as the polls show it will be again in September, then a single seat could make give Blue and White the edge over Likud and win Gantz first crack at forming a government.

It also shows that Liberman would be willing to see Gantz winning, and might very well be willing to recommend Gantz to form a government and join a coalition with him as well, something he has refused in the past.