Netanyahu’s coalition seen weakened after year in office

  • AFP, Jerusalem
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2016 16:40 IST
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference at his Jerusalem office. (AFP Photo) (AFP file photo)

A year after Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected as Israeli prime minister, a survey said Friday that if elections were held now his right-wing coalition would lose its mandate to rule.

A poll by the Panels Research organisation for the Jerusalem Post and Hebrew daily Maariv said that the coalition, which currently commands just a one-seat majority in Israel’s 120-member parliament, would slip to 57 seats.

Under Israel’s electoral system, the prime minister is not the head of the party that gains the most seats but whoever can build a coalition commanding a majority.

Friday’s survey also indicated that 46% of respondents believed that Netanyahu, now serving an unprecedented fourth term as Israeli premier, was replaceable although there was no clear consensus on the best candidate.

His closest challenger was Yair Lapid, a centrist fired as finance minister in Netanyahu’s previous government who joined the opposition in the wake of the March 2015 general election.

He trailed in a head-to-head poll with the premier, with 36% support versus 47Labour party% for Netanyahu.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, of the , mustered just 25% against Netanyahu’s 56%.

Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009 and served a previous term between 1996 and 1999, giving him a cumulative 10 years in office.

The left-leaning Haaretz daily marked the anniversary Friday with a tongue-in-cheek commentary entitled--in its English-language edition-- “Reasons to be cheerful”.

It said Netanyahu was irked at not getting more credit from the local press, despite his country’s economic stability, communications deregulation and high score on the latest UN world wellbeing index.

“It drives him crazy that he’s portrayed as a politician preoccupied exclusively with survival,” the paper wrote.

“The world esteems strong states and strong leaders who stick to their guns. In a word, him.”

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