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The New Arab Staff

Anti-Netanyahu breakaway party comes second in Israeli election poll projection

Sa'ar could be a kingmaker in upcoming elections [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 December, 2020

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Sa'ar, a long-time ally of Netanyahu, broke away from the Likud Party after a bitter row with the PM.
A new Israeli party, touted as an alternative to Likud, could come second in elections and prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a new government, according to a poll on Tuesday.

Gideon Sa'ar broke away from the ruling Likud on 8 December after an acrimonious relationship with party leader Netanyahu.

After bringing in some big names to his new political grouping, Sa'ar could be the kingmaker in expected elections, according to a poll by Channel 12 News on Tuesday.

Sa'ar's New Hope Party is projected to win 21 seats with Netanyahu's Likud expected to get 26.

With Sa'ar ruling out working with Netanyahu, it would make it difficult for the sitting PM to get the numbers needed to form a new coalition government.

"Whoever wants Netanyahu to continue to be prime minister should not vote for me because I will under no circumstances support him," Sa'ar said, according to Haaretz.

Sa'ar's success appears to be down to his ability in attracting big names from across the political spectrum due to his vehment anti-Netanyahu stance. 

He is also increasingly being viewed by Israeli voters as a strong alternative to Netanyahu.

Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser from the centrist Blue and White Party have both said they will join New Hope in the next election, while Likud's Yifat Shasha-Biton said she will also join Sa'ar.

Another big name expected to join the new political grouping is former Israeli army commander Gadi Eisenkot, who has indicated his interest in entering politics.

Netanyahu has served as prime minister since 2009, with his Likud Party dominating Israeli politics over decades.

But the prime minister has been accused by some party colleagues of dictatorial tendencies and building a cult of personality around himself in Likud.

He has also been dogged with corruption charges and growing protests against his rule.

Analysts say that Netanyahu has been successful in shifting Israeli politics to the right, introducing an even harsher occuption of the West Bank and devastating siege on Gaza.

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