It’s Official: Israel Headed to Early Elections; Netanyahu Predicted to Win Easily

Many wonder what’s the point as polls show outcome of early vote will be exactly the same as previous election

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The heads of Israel's ruling coalition agreed on Monday to dissolve the Knesset and set early elections for April 9 of next year. The next general election was scheduled to take place in November 2019.

Both the Opposition and certain coalition factions unhappy with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies see this as an opportunity to finally unseat Israel's longest-serving premier.

Netanyahu is facing possible indictment over serious charges of bribery, and he has of late come under heavy criticism by his own right-wing constituency for failing to deal more decisively with Palestinian terrorism.

And yet, the first public opinion poll conducted after the decision to go to early elections shows Netanyahu and his Likud party scoring an easy victory.

If the upcoming election features all the same parties as the last, Likud will walk away with 31 Knesset seats, one more than it has today. The second-largest party, Labor (Zionist Union), will drop from its current 24 to just 11.

If, as many are predicting, popular former IDF chief Benny Gantz enters the race, his party will win 13 seats, but most at the expense of other left-wing and centrist parties. Likud would still win 30 seats in this scenario, while Labor would drop to a mere 9 seats, according to the Panels Politics polling agency.

Also predicted to lose seats are the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beiteinu faction, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's centrist Kulanu party, and the Joint Arab List.

In either scenario, Netanyahu would be tapped to form the next government, and would be in a position to either cobble together a narrow right-wing government including the Orthodox Jewish factions, or a broader coalition featuring the centrist parties and cutting out the Orthodox.

It is precisely the same scenario as following the last election, which has many Israelis scratching their heads over why the nation needs to again be put through this familiar exercise.


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