The joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu party announced Thursday by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) would win 33 mandates in the upcoming elections, according to a preliminary Internet-based flash poll conducted Thursday night. The timing and nature of the poll is significant in measuring early attitudes toward the political maneuver.

In the current Knesset, Likud and Yisrael Beytenu hold a combined 42 seats. The new numbers indicate the two parties combined could lose 9 mandates.

According to the flash poll conducted by Panel Politics, the results of which are the first to be released since the party merger was announced, Center-Left parties Labor and Yesh Atid would pose an electoral threat to the new mega-party with a combined 45 mandates.

The poll predicted 27 mandates going to Shelly Yacimovich-led Labor Party, and 18 seats for Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party. Both Shaul Mofaz's Kadima and Ehud Barak's Independence parties disappeared off the political map, in the flash poll.

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The Internet-based flash poll, conducted immediately following the Netanyahu-Liberman announcement Thursday night, polled 305 respondents representing Jewish Israelis over the age of 18.

According to the initial preliminary poll, Left and Right blocs in the Knesset would be evenly split with 60 votes each. The Arab and Communist parties, who currently hold 15 seats, were included in the Center-Left bloc.

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