Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Election results in Israel

Th election results had a number of pleasant surprises and not so pleasant surprises. Here is my analysis.

Diplomatic Front

While Kadima ended up with the most seats, their position is quite weak. Kadima and Labor only have 48 seats, even if you add in the pensioners (who may have right wing views) that is only 55. They need one or more of the following parties to join, each one of whom has stated that they are against a unilateral pullout.
  • Shas - I don't think that Shas will support a pullot from Yehuda V'Shomron. I can't see R' Ovadya supporting evicting Jews from Hevron, Bet El, etc.

  • Yahadut Hatorah - I don't think that they will support a pullot from Yehuda V'Shomron. I can't see them supporting evicting Jews from Hevron, Bet El, etc. although you never know with them.

  • Yisrael Beitenu - Lieberman stated that he opposes unilateral pullouts. Labor does not want him in the government.

If you look at the Jewish vote, the right wing anti-pullout camp got 51 seats, the pullout camp got 52 (Kadima 28, Labor 20, Meretz 4). Given these numbers, to say that Olmert now has a mandate for his pullout plan is ridiculous.

In short, Kadima will not have an easy time forming a coalition to support a unilateral pullout.

Economic Front

The election results are a disaster for the economy. Below are the parties who will probably be in the government.
  • Kadima - Hard to say what their economic outlook is, but in any case they will be forced by their coalition partners to adopt a more socialistic policy.

  • Labor has only 8 seats less then Kadima and will have a tremendous influence on economic policy. Labor is led by the "King of Strikes" Amir Peretz, and has a socialist ideology.

  • Shas - Their main plank was to restore the child allowance cuts. Although this will personally benefit me (I have a lot of children), it is a very bad idea for the economy. In general, Shas is for more government control and spending.

  • Yahadut Hatorah - Very similar to Shas

  • Pensioners - They also want the government to spend more money

  • Yisrael Beitenu - I don't know, but in any case I don't think they will have much influence on economic policy.

In short, Netanyahu was a very good finance minister, he accomplished a lot and got the economy moving again. I fear that many of his reforms will go by the wayside and the economy will go downhill again.

Big Winners

The big winners are:
  1. Lieberman - He is now the leader of the right wing and will have a lot of influence

  2. Shas - With 13 seats they beat the pollsters expectations. Olmert needs them for the coalition and therefore they will have a lot of influence.

  3. The pensioners- This was definately the surprise of the election. with 7 seats they will get what they want.

Big Losers

  1. Netanyahu - With the Likud only getting 11 seats he is in big trouble. I hope that he stays and leads the Likud in opposition.

  2. Olmert - With only 28 seats and the need to take in a right wing party for his coalition, he is going to have trouble governing.

  3. Shaul Mofaz - Labor will probably get the defense ministry leaving Mofaz without a ministry. Makes me very hapy.

  4. Yossi Beilin - With Meretz only getting 4 seats, I think he is done. Good riddance.

  5. The pollsters - Again, all the pre-election polls were wrong. No poll was even close to 28 for Kadima and 11 for the Likud. The pollsters completely missed the Pensioners and predicted they would not even get in to the Knesset. Hopefully, people will learn something from this and the next election won't be so poll driven

In summary, althoug Olmert and Kadima won and will make the next government, they will have a hard time making any unilateral moves. IMHO, there is no way that this government lasts 4 years.


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I think you give Shas and Degel way too much credit. Degel's MK Litzman expressed support for Kadima even before the election results.

I don't see this government lasting more than 2 years. Probably less.

Overall, I'm not that pessimistic, though we will have a rocky road ahead of us.

bluke said...

Litzmna, I agree with you. The rest I believe will disagree. Shas ran on an anti-pullout platform. I don't see them changing.

I agree that the government will not last long and there will be a lot of grumbling in Kadima. For example, what will Shaul Mofaz do if Labor gets the defense protfolio? What will Reichman do if Yuli Tamir is Education Minister? Kadima is going to have a lot fewer Ministers then they thought and those non-Minister will not be happy campers.

MNR said...


Thanks for the analysis. I want you to know that I woke up this morning and went straight to your blog hoping that you would have something on the elections. And, you did. Thanks!

Charlie Hall said...

Except for the collapse of the Likud, it looks from this perspective across the Atlantic that things didn't change very much. If you accept the premise that Kadima is basically the defectors from Labor and Likud, plus Shinui, they are about the same as before the election, really changing from 29 to 28 if my numbers are correct. Labor-Meimad-Am Echad went from 22 to 20, but remember that one of the Am Echad MKs refused to join with Labor. Shas went from 11 to 13. NRP/NU went from 10 to 9, and UTJ from 5 to 6, but remember that in the last election NRP got a seat at the expense of UTJ because of a surplus vote arrangement. The Arab parties went from 8 to 10. So no party changed more than two seats -- except Likud, Israel Our Home, and Pensioners, and it was the latter two policies that benefited from the self destruction of Likud.

I do agree that the election result was a resounding rejection for Netanyahu's free market economic policies -- which the old Shinui basically shared. But free markets are not a big Torah value; taking care of the poor in our community is.

yaak said...

Good analysis, Bluke.
I agree that Shas will not stand for any disengagement - not the previous one when Fatah was in power, and Kol Shekein now that Hamas is in power. Even if they do join the government, they will certainly leave before any further disengagement takes place.

Netanyahu enhanced Israel's economic standing to the rest of the world, but not to the majority of people of Israel, who are suffering because of his Kitzutzim and policies - including many Torah scholars. The rest of the world don't vote in Israeli elections though.

bluke said...

Netanyahu did what was necessary to save the economy. It is not realistic to expect the Israeli taxpayer to support people sitting and learning in Kollel.