Report: Likud and Yisrael Beytenu to unite for elections

Netanyahu and Liberman to hold press conference at 8pm; Channel 2 reports leaders will announce a merger of the two parties in order to create a big right-wing bloc to counter left-wing parties in upcoming elections.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu and FM Avigdor Lieberman 370 (R) (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
PM Binyamin Netanyahu and FM Avigdor Lieberman 370 (R)
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
The Likud and Yisrael Beytenu are set to unite into one party for the upcoming elections, Channel 2 reported on Thursday.
A Likud spokesman confirmed talks on a technical merger between the two parties had taken place, but failed to confirm that an agreement was reached.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman were scheduled to hold a press conference at 8pm Thursday, in which they were expected to announce the union between the two parties.
According to Channel 2, the joint Knesset list will be called "The Likud-Beytenu". Netanyahu is expected to get the first spot on the list, while Liberman is expected to get the second spot.
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The third and fourth spots will be given to Likud members, while the fifth will be allocated to an Yisrael Beytenu member.
Channel 2 reported that the union is designed to allow Likud and Yisrael Beytenu to create a large right-wing bloc that could ensure a win in the elections.
Likud minister Gilad Erdan neither confirmed nor denied that the merger had been agreed upon, but he told Channel 2 that the idea had been discussed in the past.
Likud minister Gideon Sa'ar praised the reported merger, saying it has "potential to significantly strengthen the ability to govern, and to deal with the great challenges Israel is facing."
Polls sponsored by Yisrael Beytenu show the joint list with Likud could get 51 seats, a Yisrael Beytenu spokesman said.