Tel Aviv – As Israelis prepare to vote in parliamentary elections on Monday, there seems no end in sight to the political stalemate that has gripped the country for months.
Latest results show the Likud Party of conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the centrist Blue-White Alliance of his challenger Benny Gantz, are tied in polls.
This is the third general election within a year and, once again, there seems to be no prospect of a working majority for either camp.
According to a poll published on Friday by the conservative newspaper Israel Hajom, both parties will win 33 of the 120 parliamentary seats each.
A poll in the newspaper “Maariv” put both groups at 34 seats. A survey for the radio station Kan put Likud slightly ahead with 35 seats.
In all polls, both the right-religious and the centre-left blocs were falling short of the number of seats needed to complete a coalition that would have a majority.
According to the polls, the third strongest force in the parliament looks likely to be the United Arab List with 13 or 14 seats.
The Israel Beitenu party of ultra-right ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman would have six or seven seats.
Meanwhile, two attempts to form a government collapsed in 2019, due to a stalemate between the centre-left and the right-religious groupings.
Netanyahu is under pressure because of a corruption charge, with his trial due to begin shortly after the vote.
In the event of an election victory, 70-year-old Netanyahu is seeking the annexation of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley, a measure provided for in the plan published by U.S. President Donald Trump on Jan. 28.
The plan provides for a Palestinian state, but has set some tough conditions that the Palestinian leadership is not prepared to accept.
Gantz said that if he forms a government after Monday’s vote, he would work to implement Trump’s plan in cooperation with other countries in his region.