With Gideon Saar declaring himself a candidate for leadership of the Likud, a poll on Channel 12 Tuesday shows that he would lose the party seats if he led the Likud.
With Binyamin Netanyahu heading the party, the Likud would get 33 seats, compared to 34 for Blue and White. Shas and United Torah Judaism would get eight seats each, the New Right five, Labor five, and Democratic Camp four. The rightwing/chareidi bloc would have 55 seats, while Blue and White, together with leftist parties, could count on 34 seats. Yisrael Beytenu would get nine seats, and the United Arab List 13. Neither Otzma Yehudit nor the Bayit Yehudi parties pass the electoral threshold.
With Saar at the helm, the picture changes dramatically for the Likud. The party would get just 26 seats, while Blue and White would strengthen to 35. Shas would get 10 seats, UTJ eight, and the New Right nine. Labor would get six, and the Democratic Camp four. The rightwing/chareidi bloc would still be larger, with 53 seats, to Blue and White’s leftwing bloc of 45. Yisrael Beytenu would get nine seats, and the United Arab List 13.
Netanyahu is still the people’s choice for prime minister, with 40% of those polled preferring him, to Gantz’s 39%. If Saar were the candidate, Gantz would be the choice of 40% of Israelis, but only 23% would prefer Saar.
Speaking on Army Radio Wednesday, Saar celebrated the poll, saying that “I have only just begun my campaign,” and that he fully expected to be more popular than Gantz, and bring even more seats to the Likud. “I just started and I get 26 seats, the candidate opposing me has been at the helm for 10 years and he gets just 33. Every Likud loyalist has friends and neighbors who have left us. They will return to the Likud if I am heading it.”
During the interview, Saar repeated comments against Netanyahu he has been making in recent days. “According to this poll Netanyahu will be unable to form a government even after new elections. Where are we going? What will be in the future? We need to make a change in the party and in the country,” he said.