News Column

Israeli Ultranationalists Expected to Make Strong Election Showing

Jan. 3, 2013

An ultra-nationalist party opposed to a Palestinian state will make a strong showing in Israel's parliamentary election this month, an opinion poll published on Thursday showed.

But Likud-Israel Beiteinu, a merger of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing party and the ultra-nationalist faction of former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, is still expected to win the January 22 election, the poll found.

Likud-Israel Beiteinu is projected to win 35 seats, down from 40 seats in earlier surveys, the Israel Radio poll showed.

Analysts attribute the fall to Lieberman's resignation last month to face charges of fraud and breach of trust and the loss of voters to rising ultra-nationalist parties, namely Jewish Home, whose leader wants Israel to unilaterally annex 60 per cent of the West Bank.

Jewish Home, which has three seats in parliament, will emerge as the third-largest party in the Knesset with 17 seats, the poll found. The Labour Party is expected to come in second with 18 seats.

Left-leaning and centrist parties, whose popularity has steadily declined since the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in late 2000, will fare poorly in the election.

The poll found that leftist and centrist parties will have 47 seats in the 120-strong parliament. Ultra-nationalist and religious parties will control some three-quarters of seats, up from 73 seats.

The survey polled 500 Israelis and had a margin of error of 4.2 per cent.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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