Opposition leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party will run alone in the March 23 election and not seek any political mergers ahead of the February 4 deadline for lists to be submitted to the Central Elections Committee, The Jerusalem Post learned on Tuesday.
But Lapid will encourage mergers among other parties inside the Center-Left bloc behind the scenes, in order to maximize the mandates won by the bloc.
As the leader of the Center-Left bloc, Lapid will follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who actively encouraged political bonds in his Center-Right bloc. Netanyahu has pushed the leaders of the Religious Zionist Party (Bezalel Smotrich), Bayit Yehudi (Hagit Moshe) and Otzma Yehudit (Itamar Ben-Gvir) to run together.
Following a meeting with his American strategist Mark Mellman in Washington, Lapid decided he did not want to carry other parties into the Knesset, as he believes he did with Blue and White, out of concern that such parties could break away when it comes to coalition negotiations, as Blue and White did.
But Lapid would be willing to welcome into Yesh Atid respected individual figures, such as Tzipi Livni, who will not make a decision about whether to return to politics until shortly before the deadline.
A source close to Livni said there was “nothing new” regarding her decision.
A poll broadcast on Channel 12 on Tuesday night found that if elections were held now, Likud would win 29 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 16, Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope Party with 15 and Yamina with 14. Yesh Atid has been moving up in the polls for a month while New Hope has been moving down.
Labor crossed the 3.25% electoral threshold in the poll while the Israelis Party of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai did not.
If Yesh Atid and the Israelis Party ran together, it would win 18 seats, according to the poll.
If Labor and the Israelis Party ran together, the list would win seven seats.