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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Hadar Yoavian
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu to Ynet: Our polls tell us we have enough for coalition

In an interview with Ynet TV one week before the elections, PM says he will not sit in the government with Arab parties, including Mansour Abbas; adds there will not be another lockdown and he has 4 more normalization deals on the way

Moran Azulay |
Published: 03.16.21 , 11:47
Exactly one week before the elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Ynet on Tuesday that according o the polls conducted by his campaign, the Likud party has enough Knesset seats to form a coalition.
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  • According to the latest polls, Likud still appears to be the biggest party with 29 potential Knesset seats ahead of March 23 elections. But with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid and Naftali Bennett's Yamina parties breathing down his right-wing faction's neck, Israel's longest-serving prime minister might not have enough to form a coalition.
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    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)
    In an interview with Ynet TV, the prime minister said his once-main challenger, leader of the New Hope party Gideon Saar, is "falling apart" in the polls, while he is willing to debate his other opponent Lapid given the opportunity.
    "Lapid is the candidate who will receive between 20 and 25 seats, he's a candidate for prime minister, he's trying to hide it and not admit he's running for prime minister," Netanyahu told Ynet.
    "According to our data, we have 61 Knesset seats. We have seen both your and my polls. My polls say we are have enough [to form a government] and that is good. Our voters recognize a historic opportunity to have a stable right-wing government under my leadership that will not rely on Lapid or rotations."
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    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inside Ynet studio
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)
    He added, however, that he will not form a government with Arab parties, including Mansour Abbas's Raam - who has recently forged close ties with the prime minister.
    The prime minister also promised to Israelis there will not be another coronavirus lockdown and added that there are four more normalization deals on the way. "I delivered peace for peace," he said, regarding the recent normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
    He dismissed what he said was a claim by his rival Yair Lapid that only uprooting 90,000 settlers from the West Bank could lead to peace as that was the sole way to engage the Palestinians and without the Palestinians there could be no agreements with regional states.
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    Netanyahu and Lapid
    (Photo: Ynet Studio)
    "There are four more peace agreements on the way," he said, holding up four fingers. "And the people come to us because they know that this is the real thing."
    Netanyahu also insisted that his ongoing corruption trial would not affect his ability to run the country. The prime minister is defending himself against charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate investigations.
    "I can run this country during the trial," he said, insisting that he would accept the outcome of the legal proceedings.
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    Netanyahu arrives at Ynet building
    (Photo: Yaron Brenner )
    Finally, he brushed off a Ynet report that members of his party had been in touch with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss potential supporting for Netanyahu in next week's vote. The report, he said, was "nonsense."
    The prime minister claimed instead that the Palestinian Authority "only wants to replace me."
    "I don't need Abbas who wants to bring me down or the [predominantly Arab] Joint List party or [Raam party leader] Mansour Abbas," he said.
    He added: "We will establish a strong right-wing government that will forge its own path and make Israel into an international powerhouse."
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