Netanyahu, Lieberman unity could backfire: Poll
JERUSALEM - Reuters
Israeli PM Netanyahu (R) and Israeli FM Lieberman shake hands after they announced that their parties will unite for polls. EPA photoIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tie-up with far-right coalition partner Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman could backfire by eroding their lead ahead of Israel’s Jan. 22 ballot, a poll said Oct. 26.
According to a survey published by Channel Two television station, the joint candidate list of Netanyahu’s Likud and Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu parties, announced Oct. 25, would take just 33 of the 120 seats in Parliament. Though that still puts them ahead of rival parties, it represented a drop-off from last week, before the unexpected alliance was unveiled, when a poll for Parliament’s television station Knesset 99 gave them a combined 39 seats. “Unifying lists usually shrinks them,” commented Nahum Barnea of daily Yedioth Ahronoth.
“Anyone who did not tolerate Lieberman and voted for Netanyahu will think twice, and the same is true for those who did not tolerate Netanyahu and voted for Lieberman.” The poll also found boosted support for Israel’s strongest opposition parties, left-leaning Labor and the new, centrist Yesh Atid.
They were seen taking 27 and 18 seats, respectively, up from the 19 and 15 predicted last week. Reasons analysts gave for that shift included worry among wavering Israelis about the rise of Lieberman, an often undiplomatic top diplomat who faces possible indictment on graft charges, though he denies wrongdoing.