Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Israeli elections

Despite all of the clamor about the elections being held today, the participation rate is rather low. It would be too silly if it were because of the far right feeling disenchanted with all of the existing parties and choosing to vote by not voting. Which, of course, means that that is precisely one of the reasons for the low turnout, in addition to overconfidence by Kadima voters and disenchantment among the chareidi population with certain UTJ knesset members expressing some independence from their gedolim. Anyway, as of 2p Israel time, the participation rate was 30.9%, which, according to Jpost is only a 5% drop from the last election at this time of day (apparently approximately 32.5%), so the drop is much less than people are making it out to be.

Kadima will be lucky to get 30 seats.
Labor will come in at 20.
Likud at 18. They can't possibly do as badly as the most recent polls say.
Y.Beiteinu at 12.
NU/NRP 12. Call it a hunch.
Shas 11.
Arab parties 8.
Meretz 5.
UTJ 4.

Marzel would have easily nailed a two-seat mandate, if it weren't for the "A-vote-for-Marzel-is-a-vote for Kadima" campaign - but the campaign will still result in an extra seat for NU/NRP (with the second seat being in the form of wasted votes that will, indeed, add to Kadima's mandate).

The government will be built around Kadima, Labor, and Shas, with UTJ pulled in for good measure - 65 seats. The chareidi parties are the best option for Olmert, since their political views are perpendicular to those of Kadima - as long as they get funding, they'll agree to anything Olmert wants to do (I don't think he'd be foolish enough to do anything that would offend them on a religious level). A friend of mine once criticized Shas to me, complaining about how they're willing to flipflop for money, but this is precisely their platform - if one accepts the fact that the borders of Israel are not the only issue that's important, it makes perfect sense. Olmert won't want to trust Y.Beiteinu to consistently support the pullout, no one likes Meretz, and the Arab parties are against a unilateral pullout, but rather are in favor of negotiations (in addition to the fact that inviting them into the government would be politically suicidal).

Besides the fact that predicting the "right/religious bloc" to get 61 seats is amazingly optimistic, what incentive would the chareidi parties have to turn down what Olmert offers them in favor of causing Katzav to invite Netanyahu to form a government - who says they'll get a better offer that way? As it is, I have Likud, YB, NU/NRP, Shas, and UTJ coming in at only 57 seats combined.

In conclusion, as my great-grandmother used to say, "No matter who gets in, he should be good for the Jews". I'm fairly unconfortable with Kadima, so likely would not have voted for them, but if that's who the people of Eretz Yisroel want, that's fine with me.


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