Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Israeli Elections: Netanyahu Wins, But Margin Smaller

Israeli elections are complicated affairs and even their press is trying to sort through all of this. Below are some of the best articles/analyses that can be found so far:

Voting is over in Israel’s Knesset elections, and the vote count has begun. The Times of Israel is covering events through the night.

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett says his party has returned to center stage in Israeli politics, having won a projected 12 seats according to exit polls.
Aryeh Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, lauds the exit-poll results for his party, which predict it will receive between 11-13 seats. “Praise be to God, this is a success for Shas,” he says.

From here on in, the most important thing to watch will be the blocs. The exit polls suggest that the right-wing/Orthodox bloc is heading for 61-62 seats — a very narrow majority.

"I thank the citizens of Israel who voted for me again," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said following the release of exit polls on Tuesday night. "According to the exit polls, it is clear that Israelis decided that they want me to continue serving as prime minister, and that I form as broad a government as possible," he added.
Netanyahu looked likely to squeak through with a narrow victory in Tuesday's Knesset elections, the exit polls - released as soon as the ballots closed - seemed to indicate.

Binyamin Netanyahu will continue to serve as Prime Minister, but his power has been diminished, according to exit polls published Tuesday evening as the polls closed.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu released a statement shortly after the polls were published, indicating he would immediately begin working to form as wide a coalition as possible.
“I want to thank the millions of Israeli citizens who exercised their democratic right today,” said Netanyahu in the statement that was posted to his Facebook page.

“The results of the exit polls make it clear that Israeli citizens stated that they want me to continue to serve as Prime Minister of Israel, and that should I form as broad a government as possible.”

The exit polls indicated that the joint Likud Beytenu list will achieve 31 seats, significantly lower than the 42 that the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu had in the outgoing Knesset.

Lapid surpassed all his achievements in previous surveys and has earned 18-19 seats, putting it in second place.
The Labor party was in third with 17, Shas was fourth with 13, and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) was in fifth with 12.

Meanwhile, MK Danny Danon, who has the ninth spot on the Likud-Beytenu list, tried to play down the results for his party, noting that despite the fact that there are fewer seats for the Likud, Netanyahu will still be Prime Minister.

"The rightist camp is that one that represents the will of the people,” he said. “Ms. Yechimovich should not celebrate. The left once again does not understand the election results. Netanyahu is the next prime minister, and he will form a new government while maintaining the principles of the national camp.”

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beytenu emerged as the largest faction in a hotly contested parliamentary election on Tuesday, positioning the hard-liner to serve a new term as prime minister, according to exit polls. But a lackluster performance by Likud, along with surprising gains by a centrist newcomer, raised the strong possibility that he will be forced to form a broad coalition.
The exit polls aired on Israel’s three major TV stations all forecast the Likud, along with its traditional hardline and religious allies, capturing a shaky majority of just 61 or 62 seats in the 120-member parliament. With official results trickling in throughout the night, it was possible that the two sides could end in deadlock.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said he would reach across the aisle and try to form a broad-based coalition.
“According to the exit polls, it is clear that Israel citizens decided that they want me to continue to serve as prime minister of Israel, and that I form the widest possible majority (coalition),” he said. “Already this evening I will begin working toward the widest possible government.”
Such a scenario would have deep implications for Mideast peace prospects. Netanyahu’s centrist opponents have said they would not join his government if he does not make a serious push for peace with the Palestinians. Peace talks have been deadlocked throughout Netanyahu’s four-year term.
According to the exit polls, Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beytenu bloc captured just 31 seats, far below forecasts of recent opinion polls. The two parties, running separately, had 42 seats in the outgoing house.
In the biggest surprise, the centrist Yesh Atid party, headed by political newcomer Yair Lapid, captured as many as 19 seats, well above the forecasts. That would position Lapid to become either opposition leader or seek a major Cabinet post if he decides to join Netanyahu’s governing coalition.
Lapid campaigned on a platform calling for an end to the generous subsidies and draft exemptions given to ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. He also has said he would not serve as a “fig leaf” for a hard-line government.
Lapid would likely seek deep concessions for Netanyahu in exchange for joining the government.

Below is a live feed of election coverage and is quite fascinating to watch:


hartdawg said...

obama must be really angry at this....in your face! i think it'll be a good think if Netanyahu s opponent, the far right one, gets more seats. it'll be good for Netanyahu and good for Israel

hartdawg said...

I'm referring to neftalli Bennett. If his part gets more seats i think it'll be good

Scott said...

He did - I believe his party gained ~12 and it will be the 3rd or 4th largest, from everything I'm reading. I have a feeling this will end up being significant. netanyahu will have to include his party in the coalition - and I think thats a good thing. In fact, I have to post an interesting article on his speech

hartdawg said...

I don't think a lot of people realize the potential prophetic significance of Bennett gaining several seats.

Scott said...

I completely agree - something I've been watching very closely. Netanyahu will be forced to unite with Bennett and Bennett has strong feelings about Israel's independence and defense. This is going to be very very interesting

Scott said...

Hart - look at Bennett's speech (just posted above - its the last entry) - some very interesting quotes