A Bit More on the Israeli Elections

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September 17, 2019 5:59 p.m.

A few more observations on the Israeli election. Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu wrecked Netanyahu’s shot at forming a government last time. He bet it all on that and he won big. His seat total went up substantially. If you assume he will again not join a Netanyahu coalition, then Netanyahu really doesn’t appear to have the seats to form a government. If the exit polls are roughly accurate the rightist bloc has 56 seats.

That doesn’t mean the center-left bloc is in much better shape. The current numbers give them 53 seats. But if Yisrael Beiteinu joined a Gantz government, there’s 61 votes. Of course how you get the Israeli center-left parties to sit with the secular nationalist Lieberman is hard to figure. Of course, they could bring in the Joint List, which is a union of Arab and non-Zionist parties. But that won’t happen.

It all comes down to Lieberman. If he won’t sit in a Netanyahu government, it’s hard to see how Netanyahu can form a rightwing government. The numbers just aren’t there. A national unity government is plausible, which would include Likud. But the price of that — including Blue and White — would almost certainly be Netanyahu’s ouster.

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Another interesting note: Voter turnout went up from the last (failed) election last spring. That’s very non-standard for a second election that comes so quickly after one election can’t produce a government. Just what drove that isn’t clear yet, though it seems there was higher turnout in the Arab community.

Latest word is that the Joint List has surged to 15 seats. That’s big growth from the last election.

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For those of you on Twitter, here’s a list of people to follow on election results. No great attempt to cover the ideological terrain. Mainly a list of people who have regular and reliable updates on returns.

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