Elections and the Charedi parties II
Sharon's latest move to make his own party has IMHO helped the Charedim tremendously. How so? The answer is very simple, there are now 3 major parties who are going to split the vote. It is pretty safe to assume that no party will get more then 30-35 votes and therefore the Charedi parties will be indispensable to create a coalition whether it is Sharon making a government or Labor. Given that, they will be able to extract much of what they want in exchange for joining the coalition.
In addition, Sharon's new party really hurts Shinui. Many centrist voters will vote for Sharon rather then Shinui which is a very good thing for the religious public.
In truth, it will be very difficult for Sharon to make a government after the next election (assuming he wins). Given the following assumptions (which are very reasonable, you can play with the numbers a bit and things still won't really change):
Sharon - 30 seats
Labor - 25 seats
Likud - 20 seats
Right (National Union, Mafdal, etc) - 20 seats
Charedim - 13
If Amir Peretz keeps his word and doesn't join a unity government then Sharon can't make a coalition, the Likud, the right wing and Labor have 65 seats. Sharon will need to try to make a government with Labor and the Charedim and this will cost him a lot.
Another scenario for a government is if the Likud and the Right Wing get 48+ seats and make a coalition with the Charedim.
This is exactly why I believe that the Charedim are the big winners, in just about every scenario they are crucial to making a coalition.