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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's a... tie!?!

It looks like Labor party leader Shelly Yacimovitch is going to have her block against Netanyahu forming a government after all. During the night, the results shifted, and the Left and Right blocs are now tied with 99% of the vote counted.
The 19th Knesset show 31 seats for Likud - Beytenu, Yesh Atid as the second biggest party with 19, Labor in third at 15, with Shas and Bayit Yehudi at 11 seats each, the Central Elections Committee announced.
United Torah Judaism received 7 seats, and the Tzipi Livni Party and Meretz received six seats each.
For the Arab parties, UAL - Taal received 5, Hadash 4, and Balad 3.
Kadima just passed the threshold with two seats.
While the Left can block a government from being formed, it would have to undo 65 years of precedent in order to form a government itself. That's because there has never been a government with an Arab party as part of the coalition. That's unlikely to happen now either. And even if they did get together 60 seats to form one, they couldn't get a 61st seat to govern.

That's also just the start of Netanyahu's problems.
But other officials in the Likud said in closed conversations that Netanyahu had proven that he was no longer “king of Israel,” as he had been crowned by Time magazine in May. They said he could expect a challenge to his leadership in the Likud.
Likud officials also blasted Netanyahu for brokering an unsuccessful deal with Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, and religious Zionists for joining Likud en masse but then voting for Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party.
Well, I'll bet that if Bibi weren't at the top of the list and someone else whose initials are MF was, a lot of those religious Zionist votes wouldn't have gone to Bennett....

The Likud's membership has changed over the last decade. Netanyahu, and before him Ariel Sharon before he formed Kadima, played all kinds of games to prevent the election of a new central committee in order to try to keep all those religious Zionists from gaining control of the party. Now, that could change too.

But first, we will have to try to form a government. Despite the Left-Right split there are parties that could go either way: Lapid, the Haredi parties and maybe even Jewish Home, depending on what the government's fundamental lines are.

What could go wrong?

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At 8:47 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - the Arab parties are ideologically opposed to Zionism. Its true that if you count them formally with the Zionist Left, perhaps Shelly Yachimovich could block a new Likud led government.

That's unlikely to happen. Yesh Atid will probably end up joining a Netanyahu government. Later, T'nua and possibly the rump Kadima could be induced to join it for the right price. The one weapon Netanyahu holds is that if no one joins him, there will be fresh elections and no one wants early elections.

So he's in a stronger position than the math indicates. And he's likely to get it his way since there's much agreement in Israel over what reforms are needed. Peace with the Arabs isn't even on the national agenda.

A hung Knesset may make for an interesting news headline but has little connection with the reality of every day politics in Israel.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger HaDaR said...

The count is not over AT ALL.
There are all the soldiers' votes to be counted, which can keep Kadima out and reduce the Arab seats.
The ONLY sure thing is that, just like in 1992, Likud has lost over 400.000 votes.
Let's see whom they will accuse of having caused the loss. The idiots really don't get it: zig-zag-yahoo has never won an election clearly.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger HaDaR said...

BTW: you probably do not know, but in case of votes 60-60 in the Knesset, wins the side where the Prime MInister stands.
It happened MANY times during Rabin's Government.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - here's a graphic from Haaretz that illustrates why the presumed tie doesn't actually exist:


Now if you exclude the Arab parties and if the Center Left doesn't want a coalition with the Likud, its only option is a coalition with the religious parties. If they can offer them perks and other benefits, a center left coalition with the religious parties is possible. But they have to find a candidate willing to serve as PM who is acceptable to all of them - Lapid, Yachimovich and Livni.

The Likud and Jewish Home have 8 seats fewer than the Left. They can take in the 12 seats of the religious parties and they need at least one party from the Center Left to form a stable majority government.

The Center Left on the other hand needs at least two religious parties to join it so they have to win over more partners in order to build a stable center left government. They might even get in Bayit Yehudi in exchange for guarantees on Jerusalem and growth in Yesha.

The next government will depend less on ideology than on whether what side will dole out sweeteners to potential coalition partners to command a working Knesset majority.

The Israeli Left can't make a formal coalition with Arab parties so it has either an option of either a Left-religious government or a grand coalition government with the Likud. Those are about the same options the Likud faces with the Left or again a grand coalition.

Isn't Israeli politics fun? What could go wrong indeed


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