Netanyahu graft indictment decision looms ahead of April 9 election

netanyahu indictment corruption
Photo: Ronen Zvulun/AP
netanyahu indictment corruption
Photo: Ronen Zvulun/AP

Today is the deadline for candidates to register for Israel’s April 9 election.

It is also possible that Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt will today announce whether to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges. Mr Netanyahu has strongly denied all corruption allegations levied against him, labelling them a politically motivated “witch hunt”.

Opinion polls have predicted that the PM’s Likud party will win about 30 seats in the 120-member parliament. However, if the AG indicts the PM before the elections, Mr Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party could lose momentum amid changes in party leadership and ongoing corruption investigations.

Regardless, a new alliance between former military chief Benny Gantz’s Resilience party and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid faction poses another threat to Mr Netanyahu’s Likud. Opinion polls have suggested that a centre-left bloc consisting of these two parties, which have a strong anti-corruption message, could cost the Likud seats, and potentially its majority.

If Israeli voters jettison Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing leadership, the changes would be substantial, as the current PM has dominated the country’s politics for over a decade. Indeed, movement to oust Mr Netanyahu politically, if not legally, appears stronger than ever.

Delve deeper: 2019 forecast: Israeli elections and corruption charges

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