Monday, March 2, 2020

Israeli election - early results

With 7% of votes in, it seems clear no party has come near the threshold, parties are either well past, or well below it. Exit polls suggest the following:

37 - Likud*
32 - B&W
16 - Orthodox Parties*
15 - Joint List
7 - Left
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu
6 - Yamina*

This would give Bibi's coalition, marked with Asterisks (*), 59 seats, short of the 61 they need for an absolute majority.

It is quite possible that parties will gain or lose a seat, or two in the cases of the larger parties, from the exit poll projections. Regardless, this is widely in line with my earlier projection from yesterday, including a final result for Bibi of 59.

As such my conclusion is the same as I presented there, it should be easy enough for him to find 2 other members to give him the majority he needs. There are a few ways he can do this.

The easiest is to peel off some constituent party from one of the coalitions. For example, the Joint List is, itself, made up of 4 parties. If he could convince one of them to sit with him and leave the Joint List, he gets his majority. Of course, the Joint List consists of Arab and far Left parties, none of its constituent members would ever support Bibi. Instead, he'd likely go after members of the Left parties (Labour, Meretz, and Gesher) and members of Blue & White (Lapid's Yesh Atid, Gantz's Resilience, Moshe Ya'alon's Telem, or Independent Gabi Ashkenazi) or he could simply try to appeal to individual members of those parties, or members of Yisrael Beiteinu.

Of these, the most likely is Telem. They should have 3 or 4 seats, pending the results, and the Telem party itself split from Likud. While Ya'alon does not seem to like Bibi, and vice versa, it is possible that Bibi can make an offer that is too lucrative for Ya'alon to simply turn down.

An alternative strategy, might be to try to form a government with minority support. He could do this by convincing some members or parties to simply abstain when it comes to voting in a new government. While this has never happened as a result of an election in Israel, it is possible.

The election result basically solves what has been the problem that caused 3 elections in a row by supporting Likud and its coalition. While they do not have a majority, it is somewhat clear that voters have indicated their willingness for Bibi to continue in government. Any 4th election would thus likely only strengthen Bibi's position be giving him and his allies additional seats.

I will follow this up later with the official final results as well as looking at what the results mean for the various parties.

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