Monday, December 28, 2020

Update - 28DEC2020

 In Israel there has continued to be some movement. A Likud cabinet minister, an, an additional Likud MK, have now crossed to join Sa'ar and his New Hope party. This marks a total of 5 MKs that have joined the party. Additionally, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah has quit and is forming his own party; he appears to be to the left of Lapid, and given polls currently show him far below the threshold, he may end up teaming up with Meretz, Labor, or, simply not winning any seats. No polling update, as, only a few polls have come out since the last one, but, in short; Gantz is nearing the threshold, Bibi is very slowly losing seats, Lapid is starting to slowly gain, and Sa'ar continues to gain. 

No updates elsewhere due to the normal 'break' from politics at this time in many places. There is, however, increasing suspicion of a 2021 federal election here in Canada. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Israeli election to take place March 23rd, 2021

 Israel is going to the polls in March.

There's not much to update you on since the last post. Another Likud MK has joined New Hope. Meaning of the 36 elected earlier this year, 3 are now in New Hope, alongside the 2 Derekh Eretz members. Also, Amir Peretz will not lead Labor, which has not polled above the threshold since March 19th of this year (that's a week after US-EU flights were suspended and North America went into 24/7 Covid panic) 

Instead, I want to use this post to detail how I will discuss this particular election.

1 - Combining the Orthodox parties.

Unless something happens to reverse this decision (such as one of the two parties taking a 'who we will sit with in coalition' decision that radically differs from the other), I will be lumping UTJ and Shas poll/seat projection results into a single "Haredi" result. That means instead of, for example, Shas sitting at 8 and UTJ at 7, I will report that Haredim (or the Haredi parties) are at 15. I may need some guidance in Hebrew plurals to ensure I only apply the 'm' when/where appropriate. As these two parties will generally agree to most of the same things in the context of coalitions, it makes little sense to split them at this juncture. 

2 - Noting Joint List as having an Arabic voting base.

Similar to my naming of the above, I will be referring to Joint List as "Arab parties" or "Arabs." This is perhaps not accurate, as, one of the 4 core parts of the Joint List is a Communist party that has many Jewish Israeli voters. However for the same reasons as above - coalitions, and the willingness to form one - the term 'arab parties' makes sense in context.  

3 - Meretz will be considered the broad left.

Sitting to the left of all the Zionist parties, Meretz will simply be called the "Left." I may change this pending on which people and/or parties decide to run alongside Meretz, but, for now, I feel this is the most useful term.

4 - All other (major) parties will be named after their leader. 

Personality is huge this election. People are less voting for Likud, or New Hope, or Yamina, and more are voting for Bibi, or Sa'ar, or Bennett. Gantz and Lapid dominate Blue and White, and Yesh Atid respectively, and Lieberman is, arguably, more famous tha the Yisrael Beiteinu he leads. 

5 - Unexpected events will be dealt with as they come (such as election coalitions)

Determinations will need to be made should parties like Gesher, Jewish Home, Labor, or Otzma Yehudit begin polling above the threshold; I may refer to these parties by their party name, their political position, or their leader's name, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, coalitions for the election of any of the parties may require a changing of the naming standard. Should whatever party Ron Huldai is looking to form take shape, it is likely that party will simply be noted as Huldai's party. 

With that in mind, the poll average presented in the previous post, would be phrased as such:

28 - Bibi
19 - Sa'ar
16 - Haredim
14 - Lapid
13 - Bennett
11 - Arabs
7 - Lieberman
6 - Left
6 - Gantz

Monday, December 21, 2020

21DEC2020 update

This might be the final update for the year, pending how things go in places like Israel (IE if an election looks likely, I will post again)


Still trying to figure out a "hook" for a post on Romania; IE what's the narrative of what has happened. The numbers are that the government (PSD) has dropped from 154 to 111 seats, while the main opposition (PNL) has gone from 69 to 93 seats. Things look worse for the government in the Senate; while the governing Social Democrats did win a plurality, the centre-right National Liberals may find it easier to build a governing coalition. Will update when a new government forms. 


The Maduro government managed to win an overwhelming majority in Parliament in elections largely boycotted by the opposition. They now have 253 seats of the 277 in the chamber. They won 4.3M votes, compared to the 5.6M they won in the previous election; Turnout was down to 31% from 74%


Current poll average is as follows; plus the change from the poll average prior to the formation of new hope.

28 - Likud (-1)
19 - New Hope (+19)
14 - Yesh Atid (-4)
13 - Yamina (-9)
11 - Joint List (-1)
8 - Shas (+-0)
8 - UTJ (+-0)
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu (-1)
6 - Meretz (+-0)
6 - Blue and White (-3)

Just a note that is is very unlikely many if any voters are going directly from Joint List to New Hope. Rather, this is likely due to natural poll jitter. Joint List, however, is down from 15 at the previous election; but their drop seemed to match a rise in the polling fortunes of Yesh Atid as well as Blue and White.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Update for 17DEC2020

 The deadline in Israel for action (if there will be an election or not) seems to be December 23rd. Polls are somewhat stable from my last post, but Likud is up while Yamina is down, though, only by a few seats. New Hope also has a new MK from Likud, but, of the 35 MKs elected to the current Likud bloc in the Knesset, 33 remain with the party as of the time of writing this post. 

In Russia, Putin's party continues to ever so very slowly drop in the polls. Starting at about 32% in January, they now sit closer to 30%. Now that Russian polls do not take out undecided respondents, meaning Putin's party is closer to 42%. The Communists and Nationalists are near one another in the polls, though, the communists have a consistent and small edge. Assuming both parties have equal support, with the catch-all Just Russia part at half their level, the math tells us that Putin's party only needs double the support of the Communists and Nationalists to win a majority. Meaning if he takes 44% of the vote, while the Communists and Nationalists take 22% each, and Just Russia takes 11%, Putin still wins a majority, taking about 54% of available seats. Put in context of Russian polls, this means 24% vs 12% and 12%. At current, the party sits at 30%, and thus, is still comfortably in majority territory. 

In Italy, the right-wing alliance sits close to a majority in the polls. The next election, however, is not expected for years. 

I've also taken a quick look at legislatures across Canada. Nothing much of interest to report. The 'most interesting' things I can find are that both PEI and NS are one defection away from their governments losing a majority. The Senate however is a bit interesting, or, at least, I think. Current standings in the Senate are as follows:

44 - Independent Senators Group - Crossbench (Big Tent; mostly Centre to Centre-Left)
20 - Conservative Party - Partisan (Right-wing to Centre-Right)
13 - Canadian Senators Group - Right (Centre to Centre-Right)
11 - Progressive Senate Group - Left (Centre-Left to Left-wing)
6 - Independent - Various (includes 3 pro-govt Senators)
11 - Vacancies (1BC, 1AB, 2SK, 1ON, 3QC, 1NB, 1NS, 1NL)

As of the time of writing...

all 20 Conservatives were appointed on the advice of ("by") Harper. 11 other Senators appointed by harper are in other groups (2 in the ISG, 7 in the CSG, and 2 Independent.)
The 4 (remaining) senators appointed by Martin are split 2-2 CSG-PSG
The 8 by Chretien have 3 in the ISG, 1 in the CSG, 3 in PST, and 1 Independent. 
The 51 by Trudeau have 39 in the ISG, the 3 pro-government Independents, 6 in the PSG, and 3 in the CSG. 

The ISG has at least 1 Senator from each province. The other groups have at least 2 Senators from each of the 4 senate regions. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

What is going on in Israel?

 The short answer, is I'm not certain; but lets try to parse out the past few days. 

First of all, lets keep in mind, Israel is starting a potential third wave of Covid. Secondly, these events have nothing to do with the alien story out of Israel. Remember that right here in Canada we have had our own alien stories. 

Instead, it is a disagreement within the ruling coalition that seems to have pushed Israel to the brink of a new election. This has resulted in a new party being formed. 

Lets look at what this means. First, the poll average:

27 - Likud (Bibi) [Right]
17 - New Hope (new party) [Right]
16 - Yamina (Bennett) [Right]
14 - Yesh Atid (Lapid) [Left]
11 - Joint List (Arab) [Left]
9 - Shas (Orthodox) [Right]
7 - UTJ (Orthodox) [Right]
7 - Yisrael Beitenu (Lieberman) [Centre?]
6 - Meretz (Progressive) [Left]
6 - Blue and White (Gantz) [Centre Left]

This is a major swing from just a week ago, with the new party taking seats from almost every source. Yamina and Likud are both down by roughly 5 seats, while Yesh Atid and Blue and White are both down by roughly 3 seats. Lets look at why this could potentially cause chaos.

Saar, leader of New Hope, says he will not sit in government with Bibi or with Lapid. Therefore the most logical government for him is one of New Hope, Yamina, and the two Orthodox parties. This is only 49 seats. Short of the 61 needed in Israel. He would thus need to find 11 additional seats. If he thinks Yesh Atid is too far left, Meretz and Joint List are off the table for him. He could get Gantz to join, but Lieberman has refused in the past to sit with Orthodox parties; this means Saar can not get a majority (unless somebody changes their mind about who they are willing to sit with, or, elected members defect from their parties; things that are unlikely, but, have happened before in Israel)

Bennett has similar reservations to Saar but may be more willing to bend. Even then, Likud+Yamina+Haredi (IE the Orthodox parties) only get to 59, and would need an additional partner at the coalition table. 

Bibi would likely be happiest with a right-wing coalition. This would reach 76 seats, easily a majority, however, both Saar and Bennett have strong issues with him personally, and such a coalition is likely impossible. 

A left coalition is also seemingly impossible. Even if Lapid could somehow convince Bennett and the Orthodox parties, we reach 58 before we run out of parties. 

Gantz, somehow, ends up with the better math, despite being "last place" in the poll. Bennett and Saar might be willing to work with him; combined with his own party, this is 39 seats. If he could bring Yisrael Beitenu, and Meretz on board, difficult but potentially doable, he'd only need Yesh Atid to get a majority. The big problem here is he stabbed Lapid in the back pretty hard at the end of the previous election, and Lapid would need some strong promises - the sort that Gantz likely could not provide (as he would need to provide any goodies needed to win Lapid over to Bennett and Saar instead)

The end result is more chaos, and likely, yet another election. 

There is, however unlikely, another option. Perhaps just as chaotic, but, one that could, at least for a time, get a majority. Bibi somehow resigns. If that happens, all of a sudden, a Likud-Gantz-Bennett-Saar coalition looks very likely. All 3 men would desperately love to lead Likud, and, therefore, the right-wing in Israel. These 4 parties have 66 seats. The two problems with this are that Bibi would never willingly step aside, and, Gantz, Bennett, and Saar, would likely tear any coalition apart from the inside with their own infighting. 

As such, the answer to "What is going on in Israel" is "I have no idea"