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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Arab parties to save Olmert?

Next Wednesday (June 25), a bill is to be brought before the Knesset to disperse the Knesset and hold new elections. Ehud Barak has said that the Labor party will vote in favor and Eli Yishai has said that Shas will vote in favor. But this morning comes word that several of the opposition parties will vote against. Specifically, the Arab parties say they will vote against dispersing the Knesset. Will it make a difference? Will it carry a price? Is it a price Olmert can pay? Let's have a look at the Knesset make-up and, assuming that the Arab parties will vote against dispersing the Knesset (and assuming that all of Kadima's MK's will vote against it - a big assumption) see how the vote may turn out:

Against dispersal: Kadima - 29
Arab Parties (Ra'am-Ta'al, Chadash (mixed Arab Jewish), National Democratic Assembly - 10

For dispersal: Labor - 19
Likud - 12
Shas - 12
Yisrael Beiteinu - 11
Ichud Leumi - Mafdal (National Union-National Religious Party) - 9

Uncertain: United Torah Judaism - 6
Meretz-Yahad - 5
Gil Pensioners - 7 (For those who follow the link, ignore the reference to "Justice for the Old; the Knesset House Committee denied them permission to split off from Gil Pensioners).

Of the three parties I list as 'uncertain,' my guess is that the Pensioners will ultimately vote against dispersing the Knesset, because every poll indicates that they don't exist in the next Knesset. Meretz-Yahad will probably split, with some MK's deciding the 'peace process' is more important and others deciding that clean government is more important. The only way United Torah Judaism will vote against dispersing the Knesset would be if Olmert came up with a huge financial package to keep Shas in the fold which would also keep UTJ in the fold. UTJ will not be the party responsible for keeping this Knesset going and that financial package is unlikely to materialize. On the other hand, they might abstain if they think it won't matter. I would anticipate that some Kadima MK's (Livni and those who have called for Olmert to resign) will vote for dispersal and some Labor MK's may vote against.

In the end, the bill to disperse the Knesset should pass unless Olmert indicates he will step down. So far, there is no sign of that happening.


At 10:49 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ehud Olmert thinks the Talansky cross-examination next month will clear him and he wants to hold onto his job. He's not going to make life easier for his rivals in Kadima by bowing out and he intends to run for the leadership in its primaries. I'd rule nothing out - Olmert is the type of politician who'd sell his mother to remain Prime Minister.


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