Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, December 2, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
More than half of voters say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must resign if, as expected, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit indicts him pending a hearing before the election, according to a Smith Research poll taken Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post.
Mandelblit has indicated he will complete the investigations
Fifty-one percent of the respondents said Netanyahu would have to resign, 34% said he would not have to, and 15% expressed no opinion or said they did not know.
well in advance of the April 9 election. Channel 10 reported the attorney-general will publicize his indictment by February.
It is possible that the decision to indict pending a hearing will occur even before the February 21 deadline for parties to present their lists of candidates to the Central Elections Committee. But the poll found that among Likud voters, 67% said he would not have to quit for a pre-hearing indictment.
While the decision to indict is expected next month, the actual indictment could still be a year away. Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon has said he would not sit in a government if Netanyahu is actually indicted and other leaders of parties in Netanyahu’s current coalition would not even say that. The poll found that most of the public is much stricter than the politicians.
Asked who is most fit to be prime minister, 39% said Netanyahu, 14% said former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, 9% Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, 7% said New Right Party leader Naftali Bennett, 5% Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman and 4% Labor leader Avi Gabbay.
The poll was taken after Gabbay’s high profile decision to break up the Zionist Union
alliance with Hatnua head Tzipi Livni. Twenty-two percent expressed no opinion or said they did not know.
Likudniks were the most loyal to their leader, with 78% saying he is most fit to be prime minister. By contrast, among Zionist Union voters, only 10% said Gabbay is most fit, while 41% prefer Gantz, 14% Lapid and 29% expressed no opinion.
The poll’s predictions for the election continued recent trends. It found that if elections were held now, the Likud would win 30 seats, Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party 14, Joint List 12, Yesh Atid 11, New Right and Labor nine each and United Torah Judaism seven mandates.
Six seats each would be won by Kulanu, Shas and Meretz. Yisrael Beytenu and MK Orly Levy-Abecassis’s new Gesher Party five each.
Neither Bayit Yehudi nor Hatnua would cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.
The poll of 545 people, representing a statistical sample of the adult population, had a margin of error of ±4.5%.
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