May 7, 2021

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Israeli Election Results Explained: Will Israel Finally Have a Stable Government?

6 min read
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World leading vaccination program

underway the people of israel have gone

to the polls

for the fourth time in two years

so we we’ll talk the exact forces at play what the elections could mean for israel and its leadership and more importantly why on earth the
israelis are heading the polls yet again

it’s relatively uncontroversial to say that Israeli politics are complicated beyond even just the broader Israeli-Palestine conflict something we simply don’t have time to get into in this video

this current bout of instability has been a few years in the making

since 2019 an outright stable majority in the Israeli parliament or Knesset hasn’t been possible on either side the current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself has only been able to remain prime minister as caretaker between the collapse of coalitions or by setting up extremely fragile ones himself coalitions sometimes formed with explicit enemies under the basic law of Israel the formation of a government takes a predefined structure within seven days of the election results being formally published and verified the president invites a designated Knesset member to try and form a government the

government then have 28 days or upon an extension 42 days to form

the designated member typically being the leader of the party with the most seats if they’re unsuccessful the president calls upon another knesset member to try and do the same thing again giving them 28 days

if they’re also unsuccessful it opens up to the entire Knesset to try and find a majority for a government that can withstand a motion of no confidence

if after all of this no government can

be found then new elections have to be

held

and so after the elections in april 2019

when netanyahu’s likud party received 35

seats

he was chosen as the designated member

to form a government

which he failed to do rather than turn

to benny gantz from the blue and white

party who

also commanded 35 seats parliament

dissolved itself leading to new

elections in september of that year

and so in september israel went to the

polls again where yet again

neither party managed to get a majority

nor were they able to form a stable

coalition

with that yet another election was set

for april 2020

while the march election did see

netanyahu increase his seat share to 36

he still didn’t possess a majority but

finally a coalition was on the cards

after a tense period of negotiations and

in light of the coronavirus pandemic

beginning to take hold

netanyahu and benny gantz agreed to form

a unity government

under the terms of the coalition the

premiership would rotate

netanyahu would stay on as prime

minister for 18 months before passing

the baton to gance

the question nonetheless arises why are

they having a fourth election in two

years

and why is it even happening right now

the answer has two aspects

netanyahu and well netanyahu

in the first instance the coalition has

been plagued by infighting

specifically around the budget a

deadline had been set to pass budget

legislation

but netanyahu towards the tail end of

november said that the budget couldn’t

be passed by then

delaying it until february something his

coalition partner benny gantz refused to

believe

or accept in ghance’s view the delayed

budget was a ploy

and according to the times of israel the

delayed budget would allow netanyahu to

remain prime minister

beyond the 18 months laid out in the

coalition agreement

so following the failure to reach an

agreement on the budget

and netanyahu’s seeming reluctance to

hand over power

parliament was dissolved which brings us

on to problem 2

netanyahu netanyahu is currently under

investigation for corruption charges

in november 2019 he was charged by the

attorney general with bribery

fraud and breach of trust having been

according to the bbc

alleged to receive gifts as well as

dispensed favors

in an attempt to improve press coverage

charges that netanyahu strongly denies

to obviously prevent the investigation

and charges from going any further

netanyahu would have to obtain immunity

from prosecution

conveniently while members of the

knesset don’t automatically have such

immunity

they can request it and so that’s

exactly what netanyahu did

saying that in order to continue to lead

israel to great achievements i intend to

approach the speaker of the knesset

in accordance with chapter 4c of the law

in order to fill my right my duty

my mission to continue to serve you for

the future of israel

such a request for immunity has to be

considered by the knesset’s house

committee before eventually being put

before the entire parliament for a vote

and if the majority votes for granting

immunity then

well so be it the issue here being that

the house committee doesn’t actually

exist

caretaker governments are ultimately

extremely limited in what they can do

they for instance cannot carry out any

major legislation

nor are they able to pass budgets or

make administrative appointments

for instance the formation of the house

committee

luckily for netanyahu proceedings

against him cannot continue

until the house committee meet to

discuss the request and put it before

israel’s parliament

which has ultimately led to this

election being watched by

many and it being seen as a referendum

on netanyahu

and whether he ought to be granted

immunity this question of netanyahu’s

legal status made coalition negotiations

far from easy according to france 24 the

blue and white party point blank refuses

to sit in a government

led by an indicted prime minister having

only joined the unity government in

light of the pandemic

had for instance the two parties likud

led by benjamin netanyahu and blue and

white led by benny gantz

agreed to form a coalition in the

aftermath of the 2019 elections

they would have collectively held 70

seats

9 more than the required 61. giving them

a majority

and likely stopping all of these

elections regardless

that didn’t happen with the two sides

clearly not saying eye to eye and

disagreeing on a number of issues

that meant that we were forced into yet

another election on tuesday

and that election doesn’t exactly paint

a clear picture

with just under 90 percent of the votes

counted at the time of writing

netanyahu’s likud party is on course to

win just 30 seats

with the opposition in the region of 17

or

  1. in essence neither side has

a clear path to a majority when taking

into account partnerships and coalitions

netanyahu’s right wing block will amount

to 59 seats

two seats above the 61 threshold the

left wing block is not far behind

on 56 seats but due to fragmentation

between them it’s seen as unlikely that

the left-wing block will colour less

there is however a tenuous path for

netanyahu in

the form of winning over the arab party

ram

in a radio interview early on wednesday

morning rams leader did not rule out

joining either side stressing that we

are not in anyone’s pocket we’re

prepared to engage with both sides

ram is set to win five seats precisely

the number of seats required to tip the

scales either way

where they should join netanyahu in an

extremely broad coalition of jewish

ultra-orthodox

ultra-nationalists and arab parties he

would have 64 seats

a secure majority whether to join the

left-wing block

they’d have 61 seats also a majority

just whether the right-wing bloc would

even remain united

and grant netanyahu’s wish of immunity

is a whole

separate question though and it’s

possible we could find ourselves back

here in the future

the only thing we can say for certain

though is that the two years of deadlock

certainly aren’t going to end anytime

soon if anything israel could be heading

back to its fifth election in under two

years

in the weeks and months ahead but what

do you think

is there a clear path to break this

deadlock is israel in a catch-22

situation

in the a majority for netanyahu requires

him to dispose of his legal problems but

in order to do so

he needs a majority as always let us

know your thoughts on this situation and

the election as a whole.

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