BULLETIN The third round: More of the same OR The deadlock will be broken
The election campaign
- On Monday, March 2, Israel will hold its third general election within the last twelve months – because in both previous ones, held in April and September 2019 – no party leader was able to win the support of 61 out of the 120 Members of the Knesset (MKs).
- All the opinion polls published during the current campaign, which began in late November, have predicted that this election will result in another deadlock.
- Consequently, there is a widespread expectation that there will be no choice but to hold a fourth election later this year.
- Until last week, the polls consistently showed the Blue-and-White (B&W) party leading Likud by 1-4 seats. However, the most recent polls have shown a reversal of this situation, with Likud now leading by 1-2 seats.
- B&W have weakened, but the left-wing grouping of Labour-Meretz has strengthened, so that the center-left bloc has remained stable at 42-44 seats.
- Yisrael Beiteinu (YB), the party led by Avigdor Liberman, and which has been the key player over the last year – causing the fall of the previous government and refusing to rejoin the Likud-led bloc – remains outside of both blocs.
- Without YB, the Likud-led bloc has fallen short of 61 seats.
- Within the Likud-led bloc, the two ultra-Orthodox parties – Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) have been stable at around 8 seats each. The national religious parties have formed a new party vehicle for this election, called Yamina.
- The Likud-led bloc has held at 56-58 seats throughout the campaign. Likud’s recent strength has come mainly from right-wing parties, not from B&W voters.
- The Joint List (JL) is a coalition of three Arab-Israeli parties, which is set to do very well and win 13-15 seats. It may support a minority B&W-led government, but will not be part of a B&W-led coalition.