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Israelis brace to cast ballots in Tuesday Knesset polls

More than 40 political parties will vie for 120 seats in Israel’s parliament

Ali Abo Rezeg   | 08.04.2019
Israelis brace to cast ballots in Tuesday Knesset polls


ANKARA 

Nearly six million Israelis will cast ballots on Tuesday in Knesset (parliament) elections seen as one of the toughest challenges to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he returned to power in 2009.

More than 40 political parties are vying for 120 Knesset seats, although only 12 parties are expected to pass the electoral threshold.

The main competitors in tomorrow’s elections are as follows:

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party

During his electoral campaign, Netanyahu vowed that “no single settler will be uprooted from the West Bank, which will remain under Israeli control, while Jerusalem will not be divided”.

The centrist “Blue and White” coalition led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid

In their electoral campaigning, Gantz and Lapid heaped criticism on Netanyahu’s “lack of action” regarding the blockaded Hamas-run Gaza Strip, for which they are calling for a “military solution”.

Naftali Bennett’s “New Right” party

Supported by former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the party calls for the annexation of most of the West Bank and rejects the notion of an independent Palestinian state.

The Labor Party, led by Avi Gabai

One of Israel’s oldest political parties, Labor has recently suffered a serious decline in its popularity among Israeli voters. Pre-election polls suggest that the Labor Party will win five to seven Knesset seats.

Arab coalitions

The Arab Joint List, which ran as a single coalition in 2015, is now divided between two coalitions. Arabs make up around 20% of the Israeli electorate. Arab parties say their main priority is to fight Israel’s controversial “nation-state law”, which was passed in the Knesset last year.

The Meretz Party

Calling itself a “social-democratic” party, Meretz supports a “two-state solution”. The party only managed to win five seats in 2015 Knesset elections.

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