JERUSALEM: An electoral pact between the parties of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his foreign minister, designed to strengthen them both in January’s general election, could have the opposite effect, according to polls published yesterday.
A survey by Smith Research for the Jerusalem Post indicated that if the election were held now, the rightwing alliance of Netanyahu’s Likud and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu parties would win a combined total of 37 seats in the 120-member parliament, compared with 42 at present.
The poll of 500 people, with a 4.5 percentage point margin of error, showed the opposition Labour party coming a distant second with 22 MPs, up from 13. It said Likud-Yisrael Beitenu, with their other rightwing and religious allies, would still wield a parliamentary majority with a combined 64 seats.
Meanwhile, the top-selling Yediot Aharanot daily showed the partnership winning a total of 35 seats and gives Labour 24, according to a Mina Tzemah/Dahaf poll of 500 people with a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points. In the 2009 election Likud won 27 places and Yisrael Beitenu 15.
Hollande to visit Beirut tomorrow
BEIRUT: French President Francois Hollande will visit Beirut tomorrow for talks with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Sleiman, a high-ranking official in the Lebanese president’s office said.
“President Hollande will visit Beirut for a few hours on Sunday for talks with President Sleiman,” the official said, explaining that they will have breakfast together and then hold a press conference.