Saturday, August 24, 2019

Israel - 3 weeks + to go

With 3 weeks left of polling - and 5 additional days to polling day - I'm taking a look again at Israel.

Things have changed little, but have had some small changes, since the last update. Current poll averages (displayed as seats expected to be won) are as follows:

31 - Likud
30 - Blue and White
11 - Joint List
11 - Yamina (uber united right)
10 - Yisrael Beiteinu
15 - Shas + UTJ (7 or 8 each)
7 - Democratic Union
5 - Labour

This would give the coalition Bibi tried to form prior to the election 57 seats, short of the 61 they need for a majority. Blue and White however would have difficulty forming a coalition of its own, as adding in the progressive parties only takes them to 42.

What has become more clear, however, is the following.

1 - That Zehut and Otzma Yehudit are both unlikely to meet the threshold, neither party polling at this level in a month.

2 - That none of the 'traditional' left or right coalitions will take a majority.

3 - The only three parties expected to gain any significant number of seats are Yamina, the Democratic Union, and Yisrael Beiteinu.

So, what coalition options are available? Lets look at the numbers and what each party wants:

31 - Likud (wants to be in govt)
30 - Blue and White (no bibi)
11 - Joint List (unlikely to join any coalition*)
11 - Yamina (wants to be in govt)
10 - Yisrael Beiteinu (will not work with Shas/UTJ)
15 - Shas + UTJ (will not work with Yisrael Beiteinu)
7 - Democratic Union (will not work with the right wing)
5 - Labour (wants to be in govt)

*unlikely, but, may offer outside support (IE supply and confidence) to a government willing to bend to their demands; which itself is unlikely.

From this there are a few ways a government could be formed. If Gantz could get Yamina on side, he would only need the religious parties, and Labour, to form a government. Labour could also be persuaded by Bibi to join with him.

Perhaps more likely, while also more unlikely, is a coalition between Blue and White and Likud. Such an arrangement would have to see Bibi removed as Likud's lead. If that were to happen, someone like Moshe Kahlon, former leader of Kulanu, could find himself well positioned to take over the Likud leadership. Kahlon may have known and hoped for this when he dissolved his Kulanu party into Likud earlier this year. The party, however, may choose someone more loyal to the cause to lead them. Regardless, if Likud is willing to ditch Bibi, a coalition of the two largest parties seems the most likely result. Such a coalition would straddle the left-right divide, and could seek parties for issue-by-issue support to ensure a stable majority.

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