Gantz calls for early election as polls show Netanyahu more popular than him

Gantz calls for early election as polls show Netanyahu more popular than him
A poll conducted by Israel's Channel 12 shows that Netanyahu is more popular than Gantz, who has called for early elections.
2 min read
30 May, 2024
Gantz (L), Netanyahu's rival, has called for early elections [Getty]

The party of Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said Thursday it had submitted a bill to dissolve parliament and hold an early election.

"The head of the National Union Party, Pnina Tamano-Shata, has put forward a bill to dissolve the 25th Knesset. This follows the request of party leader and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz to move forward in broad agreement to an election before October, a year since the massacre," the party said in a statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party countered that "the dissolution of the unity government is a reward for [Hamas Gaza leader Yahya] Sinwar, a capitulation to international pressure and a fatal blow to efforts to free our hostages".

An election is not scheduled before the final quarter of 2026 and the Likud has previously warned that holding one earlier would harm the army's fight against Hamas in Gaza.

Gantz threatened this month to resign from the war cabinet unless Netanyahu approves a post-war plan for the Gaza Strip.


Poll shows Netanyahu favoured over Gantz

For the first time in a year, Netanyahu was favoured in a poll aired on Israeli media Wednesday over Gantz.

The survey conducted by Channel 12 showed Netanyahu’s Likud scoring higher than Gantz’s National Union.

But Netanyahu’s party would win 21 seats in the Knesset, while Gantz’s party would win 25 if elections were to happen today, the poll shows.

A December survey indicated the National Union winning 37 seats versus 18 for Likud, however.

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Thirty-six percent said they preferred Netanyahu as prime minister, while 30 percent preferred Gantz.

Netanyahu’s increase in popularity comes despite growing pressure on him from Israelis to secure a hostage deal with Hamas and free remaining captives in Gaza.

The far-right prime minister has defied international calls to end the Gaza bloodshed, more recently his military push in the city of Rafah which witnessed two massacres this week.

More than 36,000 people have been killed in Israel’ ruthless air and ground offensive in Gaza, with thousands more believed to be buried beneath the rubble. Over 81,000 people have been wounded, and much of the territory has been rendered uninhabitable.

(Agencies contributed to this report)