Israel Election : Bibi Looking Strong yet Far from Forming Government?
Israel Election : For the second time in less than 6 months, Israel is heading to polls on 17th September. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure majority after April Election. After a month of efforts to form a coalition government in May Israeli Parliament decided to dissolve itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud was able to secure 36 seats out of 120 seats of Knesset. Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party secured just one less seat than PM Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
The September 17 snap election gives an opportunity to the all the parties to form a government. Benjamin Netanyahu is eyeing to win record 5th Term, however as per the current scenario, the two-decade long rule of Netanyahu may come to end after the snap election. It must be noted that in 71 years of nationhood, no party has been able to win majority on its own in Israel. Post-poll alliance has always been key to the victory in 120 member Knesset.
As per the Israel parliament, the party that wins highest number of seats, the leader of that party is given an opportunity to form together by forming a coalition. A leader to be the Prime Minister needs to secure support of 61 members of Knesset. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is considered to be a right wing leader, him returning to power depends upon bringing together entire right wing block under one umbrella. Benny Gantz, whose party was number two in April election needs the backing of centre-left block and Arab list to form government.
Where does the Party Stand?
In recent time two polls have been conducted and both the polls none of the major political parties looks to be forming a government. Netanyahu’s Likud is expected to 32 seats while Benny Gantz’s Blue and White is expected to win one less seat than Likud. If this comes true, none of the political party will be able to form a coalition government. If we analyse Google trends data for last one month, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be ahead. However, the gap between him and Benny Gantz’s popularity seems to have remained same as it was during April poll.
What happens if Results Remain Same?
The results in case of remaining the same may push the country once again into political chaos. The leader of largest political party will have opportunity to form coalition government. In Israel coalition talks usually goes on for weeks. However, if the talk fails once again, country may be pushed to one more snap election, third time in a year. However, analysts believe that after 2009, that is since Netanyahu took over as Prime Minister a Unity Government will be formed. Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White may come together to form a Unity Government. The question however arises, “Who will head the Unity Government?” Will it be Netanyahu or will Benny Gantz mark the end of Netanyahu’s 2 decade hold over Israel’s politics.
The Role of Kingmaker
Avigdor Lieberman has always played a role of Kingmaker in Israel politics. His party Israel Beitenu Party has supported Netanyahu’s Likud however in April election Liberman unfriended Netanyahu on the issue of him handling Hamas. His party’s five seat then could have easily helped Netanyahu to gain majority. In recent polls Liberman’s Israel Beitenu Party is seen to double it number. If this happens, Liberman’s hand on any of the Party that is Likud or Blue and White will form government in Israel. Avigdor Lieberman is set to be the Kingmaker once again.
Benjamin Netanyahu is facing one of his toughest electoral battle. The longest serving Prime Minister of Israel is not only battling the political pressure but is also facing corruption charges. In order to increase his grip over Israel’s voters he has announced to annex a third a third of Jordan valley if voted to power again. Political future of Netanyahu is under extreme pressure, his loss may lead to end of it permanently. Thus, Bibi though looks strong in upcoming polls is far from forming government once again.