Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Israel Goes To The Polls: High Turnout In Elections

The news of the day revolve around the Israeli elections - elections which seem to be driving Israel to the right of Netanyahu. The question becomes (depending upon final results of course) will policies change as a result?

Much has been made in recent weeks of the rise of his former chief of staff, Naftali Bennett, whose Jewish Home party is apparently going to soar from three seats in the last Knesset (helped by a merger with most of the four-seat National Union faction) to a dozen or more this time. Bennett, the new champion of modern Orthodox Israel. Bennett, the settlement advocate. Bennett, the man who would annex most of the West Bank.
Rather less attention has been paid to the decline of Netanyahu’s Likud, specifically within its new Likud-Beytenu alliance with Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu.
Likud had 27 seats in the outgoing Knesset, and Yisrael Beytenu had 15 — a total of 42 in the 120-member Knesset. But the Likud-Beytenu partnership, the polls tell us, is heading for just thirty-something seats Tuesday — maybe as few as 32, and no more than 38.

Let’s take a middle figure: 35. If Likud-Beytenu winds up with 35 seats, that would mean only 22 Knesset members from Likud. Only 21 MKs bound directly to party leader Netanyahu.
The rest are Liberman’s legislators. And though Liberman won’t be serving as a minister while he battles a corruption charge, he most emphatically remains his party’s leader and a potent political presence, and he has clear policies he wants to push through. The Yisrael Beytenu MKs in the alliance will be listening not to Netanyahu but to Liberman. He’s the man, after all, who put them on his Knesset list. He’s the man who put them in the Knesset. He’s the man who — as Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, soon to be ex-MK Danny Ayalon, knows best of all — can take them out again.

With a 22-strong Likud faction, Netanyahu would directly control barely a sixth of the Knesset. He would directly control barely a third of a narrow coalition. He would likely face a great deal of post-election bitterness from within Likud, including an outpouring of criticism that he ever joined forces with that secular Liberman, the ostensible appalling misstep that pushed all those traditional Likud voters over to Bennett.

As Israel voted Tuesday, therefore, and we awaited, first, the exit polls and then, in the course of Tuesday night, the actual results, all the signs are that these elections — hitherto a mercifully brief and rather lackluster affair — are only now about to get interesting. The process of remaking our government doesn’t end on Tuesday night. It starts in earnest on Tuesday night.
The final arithmetic is going to be crucial. But unless all the surveys turn out to be dramatically awry, Netanyahu’s anticipated victory is going to be, if not exactly hollow, then certainly far from solid.

A high voter turnout is usually considered bad news for small parties that may not pass the threshold for entering the Knesset. It is also bad for hareidi parties, which enjoy a high turnout of their supporters and would rather see a low turnout among their rivals' supporters.
Likud's Gideon Saar was quoted as saying he is worried about the relatively high turnout in leftist strongholds.

The entire election campaign was conducted under the common belief among Israelis that Netanyahu would be re-elected as Prime Minister without any major competitors, leaving only the question of how many seats the ruling party would win and how stable it would be without having to rely on smaller parties to keep a coalition in place.

It was his desire to have a large ruling party with a solid number of seats that led Netanyahu to announce on October 25 that his party would run in a joint list with the Yisrael Beytenu party led by Avigdor Lieberman, then Foreign Minister who was laterforced to resign over an impending indictment on charges of breach of trust.

American advisor Arthur Finkelstein, who advised Netanyahu and Lieberman and encouraged them to go ahead with the union, predicted that the joint list could win as many as 45 seats, but the joint party’s numbers in the polls continued to decline, until one poll last week predicted an all-time low of 32 seats.

If the polls do come true and the Likud Beytenu does not win as many seats as it is hoping for, it will remain to be seen what kind of coalition Netanyahu will form. The members of his Likud party will likely pressure him to go with his “natural partners” - Shas headed by Aryeh Deri, Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias and the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) led by newcomer Naftali Bennett...

Bennett has received unprecedented popularity and has climbed in the polls, with many polls predicting his party will be the third largest and perhaps even the second largest party. At the same time, a slew of nasty Likud campaigns directly targeting Bennett and his party, coupled with Netanyahu’s high dislike of Bennett who served as his chief of staff from 2006 to 2008, may keep Bennett out of Netanyahu’s coalition.

The elections may be coming to an end, but the next few weeks will be equally as interesting, as the numbers of seats become known and the coalition negotiations begin. Will Netanyahu form a nationalist coalition? Will he look to the left to appease the world? Will the many clashing demands of the parties allow him to form a stable coalition? Time will tell.


David said...

I wouldn't be surprised to hear of some nut job suicide bomber disrupting the elections today.

WVBORN56 said...

Reading some of the comment sections on the elections I see Israel has just as many left leaning knuckle heads as we have here in America. I guess if that was not the case we would not be here discussing "end times" events. Ha!

We know God's plan however will not be thwarted!

Sitting in the bleachers waiting and watching with my popcorn!


Anonymous said...

Another shooting at a college in Texas. I dont know about you guys, but I believe Texas was one of the biggest opposers to gun control. Sounds fishy to me.


Mrs.C said...

Bibi WON! But they are saying "barely" and he will have a challenge forming a government...whew! I believe though, that in an emergency situation (ie war) a "Unity" government can be formed...
Oh, and former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman stated on Fox today, that the question on Iran will have to be answered soon. He said that Israel believes Iran will have a nuke by this summer, and by that time it will be too late. He continued stating that a decision on Iran by Israel will have to be decided by "Spring" and no later than "June"...whew...again!

Look up Brothers and Sisters, look up for our redemption draweth nigh!

Scott said...

Anon- I agree

Mrs C - I'm getting ready to post some analyses of the elections, even though they are based on exit polling at this point.

Mrs.C said...

Great :)

Scott said...

Check out the live feed - its really interesting to watch the coverage from Israel

Anonymous said...

I am getting convinced that bulls are ready for a fall. I have been
wrong recently, but I will stick
it out on my bearish views this time.

The dow is ABOVE 13,700....and climbing. WALL Street bulls are making a BIG DEAL of it, like
comments "why should stocks go down
they should continue to rise ?? "

There will be a POINT where bulls will be exhausted, I really cannot
accept s rally to records here
above 14, 200.

EWI says a turn will be coming
very soon.

There is WAY too much debt, way too

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Mrs.C said...

Will do Brother Scott, thank you! :)