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Monday, December 1, 2014

Israel, New Elections?

In the Israeli political system, Election Day, unlike in the USA, isn't "written in stone." And another major difference between the two systems is that in Israel we don't elect a Prime Minister. We vote for a political party, and the leader of the party that is large and powerful enough to form a ruling coalition becomes the Prime Minister. He or she has the right to stay in office up to four years, when the coalition automatically "dissolves." But it's increasingly common for either a "sitting" Prime Minister to take advantage of polls showing support (meaning a good chance to increase his/her party's MKs) and call elections a bit early or for the Knesset to vote "no confidence" in the government which effectively dissolves the government and forces early elections.

For months already, there have been rumors of new elections in the near future.

And for months already, two of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's coalition partners have not been acting like partners. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid-There's a Future, and Justice Minister Tsipi Livni, Hat'nuah-The Movement, have been campaigning against Bibi as much as Opposition Leader, Issac Herzog, Avodah-Labor, has been doing. Loyalty isn't on their menu.

Polls show that Livni is on the verge of finding her party in the footnotes of Israeli History, and Lapid's party will shrink by a hefty percentage. IMRA:
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Dialog Poll: National camp 77 seats (Bayit Yehudi 2nd largest party
Dialog Poll: National camp 77 seats (Bayit Yehudi 2nd largest party after
Likud)
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 30 November 20014
Poll carried out 26-27 November under the supervision of statistics
professor and pollster Camil Fuchs of a representative sample of 535 adult
Israelis (including Israeli Arabs).
Published in Haaretz on 30 November August 2014
Statistical error +/- 4.1 percentage points
If elections held today (expressed in Knesset seats)
Current Knesset seats in [brackets].
Please note: There are 120 seats in the Knesset. Parties must receive a
minimum of 4 seats in the elections to be included in the Knesset. After
elections are held the coalition forming a government must receive 61 votes
in a vote of confidence in the Knesset.
--- [31] Likud Beiteinu (Likud & Yisrael Beiteinu)
24 [---] Likud
11 [---] Yisrael Beiteinu
11 [19] Lapid "Yesh Atid" Party
13 [15] Labor
16 [12] Bayit Yehudi
06 [11] Shas
08 [07] Yahadut Hatorah
04 [06] Livni party "Hatnua" Party
06 [06] Meretz
09 [11] Arab parties
00 [02] Kadima
12 [---] Kachlon party [counted in national camp]
29 UNDECIDED expressed in the seats they represent
Should Netanyahu run in the coming elections to be prime minster?
47% The time has come for him to retire and leave the stage for others

45% He should run another time
08% Don't know
Why do you think the prime minister is promoting the national law?
41% Because of Likud primaries and the struggle for votes from the Right
40% To strengthen Israel's position as a Jewish State
19% Don't know
Of the following who is most appropriate to be prime minister?
Netanyahu 35%
Bennett 6% Herzog 17% Lapid 7% Liberman 8% Don't know 17%
Are you satisfied with the performance of PM Netanyahu? Yes 38%
Are you satisfied with the performance of FM Liberman? Yes 39% No 47% Don't
know 14%
Are you satisfied with the performance of Treasury Minister Lapid? Yes 23%
No 65% Don't know 12%
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il 

Emphasis mine, please pay attention to the two contradictory results here that I made "bold." Although a very large percentage of the people polled, 47%,  said that Netanyahu should no longer be Prime Minister, when given a choice between him and the wannabes, Bibi got the most support; nobody was even close. It's pretty clear to me that in today's political climate, new elections would just support the Likud and Netanyahu. He will have to work hard, again, to form a coalition, but the Israeli public, as much as it loves to kvetch, does not see anyone as competent/better to replace him.

Until elections are called, and the deadline for party registration has passed, we can't really know which parties will run. And with the new legislation that has raised the "threshold" to 2% of the votes which a political party must get to enter the Knesset, the definition of "small party" has just doubled. That's bad news for those of us on the Right, but that's for another post.

5 comments:

Sammy Finkelman said...

>> In the Israeli political system, Election Day, unlike in the USA, isn't "written in stone."

There actually is a default, and it once happened, in 1988. The default is similar to, but not exactly that, of the United States- the first Tuesday in November.

In the United States it is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and in 1988, the elections happened on different days: November 1 in Israel and November 8 1988 in the United States.

>> And another major difference between the two systems is that in Israel we don't elect a Prime Minister.

There was a period of time when this happened, and Netanyahu and Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon were first elected Prime Minister under that system, but Israel went back to the other system.

>> Please note: There are 120 seats in the Knesset. Parties must receive a minimum of 4 seats in the elections to be included in the Knesset.

>> And with the new legislation that has raised the "threshold" to 2% of the votes which a political party must get to enter the Knesset, the definition of "small party" has just doubled.

Is it 4 seats, or 2%? 2% of 120 is 2.4 which would mean probably 3 seats or are so many wasted votes expected that 25 would give a party 4 seats? And it used to be 1% which is just over one seat (1.2 seats)

Parties can arrange in advance to transfer fractional seats, but I think they have to first qualify to do this.

They can also run a merged list, like Likud and Yisroel Beiteinu did last time. (I think the result was the total was slightly than what would have been had they each run separately)

Batya Medad said...

The "extra vote" agreement only holds for parties that make the minimum.
I think that Bibi was the only PM elected, and when the Left realized that they didn't have anyone to compete with him or win, they changed the law back.
It used to be possible for a party of 1 MK, less than 1% of the vote.
Likud is a number of formerly independent parties, so is the new NRP Bayit Yehudi.

Mr. Cohen said...

www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/11/how-the-media-makes-the-israel-story/383262/

Batya Medad said...

Inserting article, but what's the connection?

Sammy Finkelman said...

What's the new minimum - 2% or 4 seats?

You could have a lot of unhappy voters with high threshholds.