A National Unity Government for Israel?

The Israeli election contest has come down to a close race between Likud and Kadima. Our Israeli correspondent Abu Elvis just sent us this brief analysis:

Here’s an interesting fact: the three strongest parties are all Likud, and are all headed by Netanyahu’s protégés. In 1993, Netanyahu brought Avigdor Lieberman into Likud, and Lieberman persuaded Netanyahu to take in Tzipi Livni in 1996.

Kadima is a Likud breakaway party that took more centrist Likud people (about twenty of their MPs are ex-Likudniks), and Lieberman took more rightist Likud voters to Israel Beteynu.

Together Kadima, Likud, and Israel Beteynu have more then 70 mandates, and they would be logical coalition partners, whoever is prime minister.

Actually, there is a lot of talk about a unity government with a rotation method. We had such a government in 1984-88, when Peres took the first two years, and Shamir took the second.

According to Israel National News, with 81% of the votes in, the results look like this:
– – – – – – – –

Nationalist/Religious Bloc   Knesset Seats
Likud   27
Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home)   15
Ichud Leumi (National Union)   4
Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home)   4
Shas   10
United Torah Judaism   5
Total for Nationalist/Religious Bloc   65
Leftwing Bloc    
Kadima   28
Labor   12
Meretz   4
Ra’am Ta’al (Arab party)   4
Balad (Arab party)   3
Hadash (Arab/Jewish party)   4
Total for Leftwing Bloc   55

As you can see, INN places Kadima with the “leftwing bloc”. Likud and Kadima are very close, but the right-wing parties have a distinct advantage.

Here’s the take at Israel Matzav:

The Arab parties said tonight that they will not recommend Kadima to form the new government because of Operation Cast Lead. Unless Kadima gets Lieberman to recommend them — which appears unlikely — there is no way Kadima will head the next government.

There’s now an interview with Shai Bazak on Israel Radio who thinks that Kadima will go into a government led by the Likud. He says Kadima cannot afford to be in the opposition. But Likud won’t turn to Kadima until they have offered positions to their natural partners on the right.

Visit the results page at INN for more data and graphs, including the exit polls.

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