General elections: Netanyahu warns he may lose

PM Benjamin-Netanyahu

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday claimed he is on a losing trajectory against his centrist opponents, in an apparent effort to scare right-wing Israelis into voting for his Likud party in Tuesday’s general election.

Netanyahu, in a video posted on Twitter, urged right-wing voters not to be complacent, and to go out and vote Likud.

“The media is trying to make you sleepy, they say ‘Netanyahu will be prime minister in any case,” he said.

He warned that if he would not get the backing of the majority of lawmakers in the 120-seat Knesset, then President Reuven Rivlin would give the job of forming the government to the largest party.

The candidate most likely to be tapped as the next prime minister is the one who is able to form a coalition with enough parties for a government of at least 61 members.

Polls have in fact indicated that Netanyahu is likely to outperform his rival in parliamentary representation.

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“If you want to ensure that you won’t wake up the morning after elections and Lapid is the prime minister of a left-wing government, you must vote Likud,’’ Netanyahu said.

If the election were to favour Netanyahu’s rival Lapid, who is the number two of Blue and White, he would only be prime minister in two-and-a-half years’ time as part of a rotation deal with party leader Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu pointed to polls, which have shown a tight race between Likud and Blue and White.

While Blue and White has maintained a slight lead for the most part, recent days have seen the gap narrow, with Likud leading in two polls and a tie in another.

Netanyahu has tried to convince voters that the only way to achieve a right-wing government is to vote for Likud and make it the largest party, rather than voting for smaller right-wing parties.