DAILY DOSE | Election day is just four days away and many voters are still unsure of who they will vote for and some don’t even know if they’ll vote. What’s the latest in the elections? Israeli journalists Ben-Dror Yemini and Neri Zilber analyze.
As the Tuesday elections approach, a poll published Friday from the national daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth found Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Blue & White ahead by four seats over the Likud, capturing 30 versus 26 of the 120 seats available in Israel’s parliament (Knesset).
Both parties lost a seat but one estimate remains the same: Blue & White would most likely struggle to form a coalition, which requires at least 61 seats in the Knesset.
A center-left government that joins the Arab parties would only yield 57 seats, whereas Netanyahu could form a 63-seat bloc from a right-wing alliance.
But Blue & White co-leader Lapid, who would replace Gantz as prime minister two and a half years after the election under a rotation deal, told Times of Israel in an interview on Thursday that “no power on earth would stop it” from forming a coalition should it win the majority vote.
For one, he suggested that some parties that may have expressed alignment with Netanyahu’s Likud government may change allegiance should Blue & White be tasked with forming a coalition.
‘There have been 20 governments in Israel’s history. Nineteen of them were formed by the winner [of the most seats]. Only one was not and this case, with Tzipi Livni [at the head of Kadima in 2009] was a very extraordinary case,’ he said. ‘Basically if you win in a definitive way, you’re going to form the government. This is the way of politics. Can you imagine somebody with three indictments, who lost the election, being asked to form a government? It’s not gonna happen.’
In fact, back when Lapid’s Yesh Atid party joined Netanyahu’s government in 2013, ultra-Orthodox parties were part of the opposition.
‘If we will win with a gap of four, five, six seats [over Likud], we will form the government. There’s no power on earth that will prevent us from doing so,’ he added.
At the same time, notwithstanding the fact that polls often fail to predict what will happen on the actual day of the election, Lapid explained that the polls conducted by media outlets often inflate the numbers of smaller parties that may not cross the 3.25 percent threshold to make into parliament, since underestimating them could indeed lead voters to choose otherwise in order to avoid wasting their voice.
‘If they don’t, they get phone calls from (Kulanu leader Moshe) Kahlon, (Yisrael Beitenu head) Avigdor Liberman and other players, saying ‘if you twice publish a poll telling people I’m not passing the threshold, I will disappear because of you.’ So they’re rounding up, and they’re being cautious, and maybe they should be,’ he told Times of Israel.