A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 12, 2009--Final Election Results- No Change
The last of the votes have been counted and the tally has not changed from the earlier numbers. The army vote did not change the total votes. Livni leads Bibi by one seat. Interestingly the lead would be at least one seats more, if Kadima would have had better rounding deals (those are the deals between the parties for the excess votes (i. e. if you get enough votes 6.3 Knesset members the. 3 goes to the other party). What also did not change was the balance between the right and left.
The general sense in Israel is that Netanyahu will be the one to head the next government. How he is going to put a coalition together is still very much in the air. How to overcome the problem of putting Lieberman, in the same coalition with religious parties remains almost insurmountable. Lieberman is demanding as a precondition to his negotiating with anyone, his party’s ability to freely vote for civil marriage and election reform. The religious parties know that if they enter a coalition with him and his party can vote for these reforms, it will pass. All the opposition parties will vote for it. The religious parties are so worried, Shas is trying to enter into an official alliance with the other religious parties so they become larger then Lieberman’s party. I am not sure what this can accomplish, since Shas publically committed to supporting Bibi for Prime Minister, thus limiting its bargaining power. There are some reports that when Lieberman meets with President Peres he may recommend that he, Lieberman, be asked to form the government thus denying Bibi an immediate coalition and leaving all options open. Lieberman no doubt wants a coalition of Likud, Kadima and Yisrael Beitenu- he might even get it.