Left-wing Israeli parties unite ahead of March election

Left-wing Israeli parties unite ahead of March election
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Poo)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s main left-parties have announced they will run on a single ticket in the upcoming March 2 election.

Both Labor and Meretz had been polling dangerously close to the electoral threshold and were under intense pressure to unite into a single bloc so as not to lose valuable votes. Should one of them had failed to enter parliament, it would have all but guaranteed re-election for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nationalist bloc.

Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz will lead the joint list, followed by Orly Levy-Abekasis and then Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz.

Levy-Abekasis, who heads the more centrist Gesher faction, said on Monday that it was merely a “technical union” dictated by reality to save precious votes. The union helps bolster Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz’s chances of unseating Netanyahu.

The March election will the third in a space of a year, after the previous two rounds produced inconclusive results. Various right-wing parties are also working to unite before Wednesday’s deadline for submitting the final lists of candidates for parliament.