In brief: Few Israelis expect election to end deadlock as campaign draws to close

The vast majority of Israelis think this month’s general election will not end the political deadlock which has gripped the country for the last two years, according to a new poll. The survey from the Israel Democracy Institute showed only 29 percent of voters expect the 23 March election will bring a close to the stalemate which has seen Israelis go to the polls on four occasions since April 2019. However, 52 percent of supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party believe the election will produce a clear winner. Polls have indicated the election is likely to see parties opposed to Netanyahu remaining in office and those who back the long-serving prime minister evenly matched. The latest survey from Channel 13 this week saw Likud winning 29 seats, with the centre-left Yesh Atid party on 20. Former Likud minister Gideon Saar’s New Hope party – which is pledged to oppose Netanyahu – continued to slip in the survey and is now on nine seats, having been overtaken by Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party. Overall, the pro-Netanyahu bloc of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties is on 47 seats with parties who say the won’t support the prime minister on 58 seats. With 61 seats needed for a majority, Netanyahu would need the backing of Bennett, who has said he wants the prime minister to stand down, and the Islamist Ra’am party. It broke away from the Israeli-Arab Joint List because of its willingness to cooperate with Likud and its hardline social conservatism. However, Netanyahu has ruled out forming a government with the backing of the explicitly anti-Zionist party.
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