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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Liveblog: Lieberman speaks, Kadima accuses Likud of trying to steal election

Avigdor Lieberman is speaking now.

YNet is reporting that Kadima is accusing the Likud of trying to steal the election.
Kadima announced Tuesday night that "(Likud Chairman Benjamin) Netanyahu's attempts to steal public opinion and the leadership are pathetic and anti-democratic, as were his actions in recent weeks and months."

"We will not allow Netanyahu to steal the hope of the voters or the elections," senior Kadima officials said.
Lieberman's speech has put strong restrictions on Livni and Kadima - he wants a hawkish government that will not continue to negotiate.
Yisrael Beiteinu's list of priorities is clear, "and it's first objective is the defeat of Hamas. We will not have direct or indirect negotiations with them nor a ceasefire," party chairman Avigdor Lieberman said in a Tuesday speech after exit polls showed his party in a solid third place.

"It doesn't matter which government will be formed. If we will be in this government, the defeat of Hamas will be the foremost objective," he said.
That's much more in line with Netanyahu and Likud than with Livni and Kadima.

Both Netanyahu and Livni are heading to their respective headquarters to speak.


Netanyahu is now giving a victory speech. He is certain that he will form a strong and stable government. He will try to bring in all the nationalist parties and then all Zionist parties.


Kadima says that it's willing to enter into a rotation government with Likud. Sounds like an admission of defeat to me.

Shas - which is already committed to Likud - is in discussions to form a cooperative relationship with United Torah Judaism. Although UTJ is not yet formally committed to the Likud, it should be clear that's where they're heading.


The actual results seem closer than the polls. It's still early but....
As the election results start pouring in, the Central Election Committee in Jerusalem has confirmed that with 26% of votes counted, Kadima is currently leading the Likud by only 1% of the vote.

In all 2,413 polling stations have so far submitted their final tallies to the committee. Kadima received 22.7% of the vote while Likud has 21.7% of the vote.

Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu ranks third with 13%, followed by Labor with 10% and Shas with 10%. Meretz won 3.2%, National Union 3%, United Arab List – Ta'al 2.5% and Hadash 2.1%. The remainder of the contending parties failed to garner enough votes to cross the threshold.
I think that's a mistake because Jewish Home and United Torah Judaism both exceeded the threshold.

Livni is due to speak soon.

But Lieberman and Netanyahu have both reached out to each other and Netanyahu's speech was clearly a victory speech. As I noted above, Kadima is accusing Likud of stealing the election, but that sounds like sour grapes at this point.


With one third of the votes counted, the gap between Kadima and Likud remains at 1%.


With 40.6 of the votes counted, the Likud - Kadima race remains close.
With 40.6% of the ballots counted, Kadima is still leading, with 22.9% of the vote. Likud is close behind with 21.8% of the vote. Yisrael Beiteinu and Labor are in third and fourth place, with 13.1% and 10.1% of the vote, respectively.

Shas has 8.8%, with United Torah Judaism next at 3.6% and then Meretz with 3.2%. National Union has 3.0%, with Hadash close behind with 2.9%, Habayit Hayehudi with 2.7% and United Arab List-Ta'al with 2.5%. Balad, with 1.9% is teetering just below the 2% threshold.

Livni: "The land of Israel does not belong to the Right, just like peace does not belong to the Left."

By the way, for those wondering how Livni managed to catch Netanyahu, it was a straight sexist appeal to women. She looted women's votes from Labor and Meretz, both of which were soundly defeated.


Here's a fuller accounting of Lieberman's speech:
"We've turned into a significant party, the third largest in Israel," Lieberman said. "It's true that Tzipi Livni won a surprise victory. But what is more important is that the right-wing camp won a clear majority... We want a right-wing government. That's our wish and we don't hide it."

"The main argument which is being waged today is not only over the borders, but rather on the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state," he continued. "These three things must be intertwined."

"We have a way and principles, and we don't plan on giving them up," Lieberman said, adding that the most important thing on his agenda was that the new government be decisive against terror.

In what may prove a twist for coalition talks as ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas move into an advanced stage, Lieberman firmly stated that his party would never join a government which permitted Hamas to rule the Gaza Strip.

"We will not agree either directly or indirectly to [Hamas staying] in power," the Israel Beiteinu leader said. "It doesn't matter which government is established."

"Our first goal is clear, to destroy Hamas, to take it down," he stated.

"Seven years in a row we wake up every morning, go to sleep every evening, with the news of a new Kassam attack," Lieberman said. "That must end."

"Whoever wants to see us as a partner in the government must change their policies," he concluded.
Doesn't sound like he'll go into a Kadima-led government.

Livni is now speaking and proposes a national unity government with the Likud under her leadership. I doubt he will accept. That ought to tell you who is more confident.

Livni is claiming that the voters have chosen Kadima and calls on Netanyahu to 'honor the voters' choice and to join a national unity government of the big parties. She's also claiming she will work for changing the electoral system. But during the campaign, Kadima was opposed to changing the system.

She's thanking Ehud K. Olmert on behalf of the entire party.

She reaffirms her obligation to bring back Gilad Shalit like any government is obligated to bring him back.


With two thirds of the votes counted it's:

Kadima 29
Likud 28
Yisrael Beiteinu 16
Labor 12
Shas 11
Hadash 4
Meretz 4
National Union 4
Jewish Home 3
Ram Tal 3
Balad 2

Likud is waiting for the soldiers' absentee ballots, which according to internal surveys will push the balance to the right.


At 1:07 AM, Blogger Comrade Tovya said...

HAHA, Kadima is always good for a laugh. Livni is so pathetic.

At 1:11 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - Unless Tzipi Livni gives Avigdor Lieberman what HE wants, she will not be Prime Minister.


At 1:15 AM, Blogger ProfessorPelotard said...

So far so good:

After 43% of the votes counted Balad has 2% of the votes and thus misses the cut-off. This gives the N/R bloc 67 votes vs 53 votes for the Leftwing bloc.

Given that IB and Likud has a vote charing agreement and Kadima has not (or with the Greens which will not count) presently it looks like an uphill battle for Livni.

At 1:31 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Professor Pelotard,

Kadima does have a vote-sharing agreement. But I believe that you are right that it's with Meimad.

At 1:43 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I believe in future elections we'll see more vote sharing agreements and more strategic voting. Livni did well because she was a woman. I suspect Kadima would have fared much worse if she wasn't the party's head. That's said, I find it astounding any one in Israel still thinks highly of Kadima.

At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how well Kadima will withstand not being in power. Will they remain a viable party?

At 2:00 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


It still looks like they will be the largest party in the Knesset - barely.

But Lieberman's speech tonight was the nail that put an end to their hopes of leading the government.

At 2:02 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The panic on the routed Left is so acute that Haaretz for the first time in its history, urged the rump Labor Party to merge with Kadima! The Likud which has 12 seats in the last Knesset now has 29 more than doubling its numbers. Labor has gone in in the exact opposite direction. My guess is Kadima and Labor will elect to remain in the opposition.

At 2:26 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I agree with you.

If Labor had done better, they would have gone into a coalition with the Likud and Barak would have been Defense Minister. That won't happen now.

There's already talk of Lieberman being Defense Minister. I believe that would be a mistake for the same reason that making Amir Peretz Defense Minister was a mistake. I could sooner see making Lieberman Foreign Minister and Boogie Yaalon Defense Minister.

At 3:02 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Boogie Yaalon will be Defense Minister. No one in Israel disputes his qualifications for the job, being a former IDF Chief Of Staff like Ehud Barak.

Avigdor Lieberman will probably be Deputy Prime Minister as well Foreign Minister.

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Stealing the election? How soon she forgets.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

What is surprising is the loss of Labour. That is something that would have been unheard of 10 years ago.

Israel has made a turn to the right, and about time too.

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


True enough, but they have never been out of power before, and as they are made up of those that jumped ship from other parties might they not lose some support as its members head back to their ideological roots? Just kind of wondering out loud.


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