CMEP Bulletin: Upcoming Israeli Elections Reveal Changing Political Landscape
weekly news from CMEP
Israeli Elections Approaching
After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the January 22 elections, politicians in Israel began moving to solidify or challenge his power. Shortly after the announcement, Netanyahu joined with Avigdor Lieberman and unified their Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties to stave off a challenge from the center-left. This challenge has thus far not appeared and with those parties in disarray eleven days before the election, it does not appear that one will materialize. In fact, one new challenge to his power comes from the further right with politician Naftali Bennett’s increasing popularity. While polls predict that Netanyahu will easily remain prime minister, the shifting alliances that will keep him in power could further change the Israeli political landscape.
Here is a review of the process:
- National elections will take place on January 22. Voters pick one party to vote for and every party that gets above 2 percent can get at least one seat in the Knesset. The proportion of the popular vote determines the number of seats each party receives.
- The president, Shimon Peres, picks the party leader most likely to create a 61-seat majority in the Knesset. He or she then has 42 days to finalize a coalition. Conventional wisdom indicates this will be Netanyahu again.
- The selected leader courts other parties to convince them to join and vote for a coalition. This is where the uncertainty truly lays. Will Netanyahu look to the right or to the center-left when courting parties to join his government? It will depend on how many seats each party gets and who will make the most stable coalition for him. He will need at least 61 votes in support of his government in order for it to be official.