JERUSALEM —

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.