JERUSALEM, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Israel's Likud Party announced Monday it had approved a plan to merge with the Israel Beiteinu party in the run-up to the January elections.
Likud members approved the plan by a wide margin during a party meeting in Tel Aviv despite vocal opposition, the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported.
The vote will likely improve the chances Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu's chances of being re-elected as Israeli prime minister on Jan. 22; however, Haaretz said Likud critics of the merger had argued Netanyahu's chances were excellent without bringing in Israel Beiteinu.
Netanyahu pushed for the merger, saying it would strengthen the Likud legislative agenda and give it more clout in the Knesset.
The Jerusalem Post reported Netanyahu's proposal authorizes the Likud chairman to determine the positions of party members and maintain the current seat ration in the Knesset, which stands at 27 seats for Likud and 15 for Israel Beiteinu.