Jerusalem, March 22
Israel is holding its fourth parliamentary election in two years, the product of protracted political deadlock and disagreement over Benjamin Netanyahu’s fitness to rule while facing corruption charges. Election surveys published in the final days before Tuesday’s vote predict a tight race between two major blocs: those who support Netanyahu as the next PM, and those against him. — AP
The main contenders
Five-term PM stands trial on corruption charges. He is stumping on the vaccination campaign success and normalisation deals with four Arab states. His Likud party and its presumed allies may come up short of a 61-seat majority.
In last year’s polls he was part of Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White coalition. Gantz and Netanyahu struck a power-sharing deal, Lapid refused to take part. His Yesh Atid party may be the second largest party after Likud.
Once seen as Netanyahu’s heir-apparent, the former education minister broke away from the ruling party to form ‘A New Hope’, a faction comprising former Likud party politicians who seek to oust the PM.
Another former Netanyahu ally-turned-rival may become the kingmaker. Formerly Netanyahu’s education and defence minister, he has not unequivocally ruled out joining a coalition with the embattled PM.