Election Update: Israel
Pols should be opening about now in Israel's historic parliamentary election. I will comment on this extensively after the polls close, but here are a few resources and tips on what to watch. Remember, Isreal is a Parliamentary democracy, so the leader of the mojority colaition in the legislature will also become Prime Minister.
News sources: Jerusalem Post, Ha'aretz news service (haaretz.com)
Things to Watch:
There are 120 seats in the Knesset (parliament). A majority of 61 seats is required to form a government. Israel has a lot of parties, and no one party has EVER won a majority. Instead, watch coalitions.
The most likely coalitions (as I see it) are Kadima-Labor-Meretz (on the left) and Likud-Yisrael Beitenu-National Religous Party-National Union (on the right)
The wild cards are the ultra-Orthodox religious parties (Shas, United Torah Judaism). These could go either way.
There are also three Arab parties (Hadash, Balad, United Arab List). They will probably be left out of coalitions, beacuse they are all pro-Palestine. However, the left wing may reach out to them if it is absolutely necessary.
The left wing coalition (led by Ariel Sharon's centrist Kadima Party) is widely expected to win, but the right wing parties may be able to assemble a so called "blocking majority" if the leftist coalition (including the Arab parties) fails to win 61 seats. This would probably require the help of one or both ultra-Orthodox parties.
Watch the battle for third place. Kadima and Labor will probably finish one-two, but third is up for grabs. Likud is slated to finish third, but Yisreal Beitenu is surging and may diaplace them. This is imporatant because both of these parties are right-wing, and whoever finishes first will probably end up leading the "blocking coalition". Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman has hinted at the possibility of cooperating with Kadima, but I doubt that he will look a gift horse in the mouth if he gets the chance to lead a rightist coalition.
ConeservaGlobe Endorses the Likud Party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu.