Likud Signs Vote Surplus Agreement With Religious Zionist Party

A man casts his vote at a Likud polling station in Tzfas on Feb. 5, 2019. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The joint list of the Religious Zionist Party signed a surplus vote agreement with the Likud Wednesday for the election to be held next month.

Under the Israeli electoral system, parties are permitted to sign a vote-sharing deal with one other party each election. In this arrangement, if both parties cross the 3.25% electoral threshold, and one of the two parties is just short of the number of votes needed to receive an additional seat in the Knesset, that party receives the surplus votes from its partner – that is, the votes above and beyond those needed for the last seat the second party won go to the boosting the first party to an extra seat.

As part of the deal, the Likud has promised Religious Zionist Party chairman MK Betzalel Smotrich that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will form a right-wing government which will include the Religious Zionist Party. That agreement does not include Otzma Yehudit or Noam, which are only part of a technical bloc with the Religious Zionist Party and are expected to split off from the Religious Zionist Party shortly after the election.

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