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Israel: “Strange” and “Complicated” Elections

Two former Prime Ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, and Foreign Affairs Minister and Acting Prime Minister Tzipi Livni ran a tight race to win the votes of Israelis.

The result is a “nail-biting poll” and an election cliff hanger, which sees Livni as a forerunner and Netanyahu a very close second. And while the election results will not be announced for days, Israeli bloggers share their thoughts on this “strange,” and “complicated” elections in this post.

At the Dutchblog Israel, Dutch Jewish historian Bert de Bruin makes a few general comments on the elections in a post entitled The morning after. Among them are:

# The winners: Livni, Lieberman, Hamas, the settlers ( all for different reasons ).
# The losers: Nethanyahu, Barak, Israelis and Palestinians ( idem ).
#I am glad that I am not the one who has to build a coalition among the members of this, 18th, Knesset.

One Jerusalem describes the elections as “strange,” and adds:

The “Right Block” (of political parties) and the “Center Block” have achieved a problematic tie, while the “Left Block” has been brutally crushed by its (lack of) voters.

In another post, a One Jerusalem blogger, who actually met with Netanyahu, writes:

Over four million Israelis braved substantial wind and rain as they cast their ballots in Israel's national election.

[…]

While the final vote totals will not be known for days there is nearly universal acceptance of the fact that the next Prime Minister of Israel will be Benjamin Netanyahu. Last night, we had the pleasure of congratulating Netanyahu on his electoral victory. He spent little time socializing and it is clear that his objective is to set up a majority coalition as soon as possible. As he told the Likud faithful earlier last night Israel faces very serious challenges with the looming threat of Iran on top of the list. He reiterated this message with us. We must stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

ExpatEgghead adds his two cents saying:

To cap it all it's unclear how the next government will be formed. It's going to be difficult over the next few weeks.

And Imshin, at Not a Fish, describes the process as “complicated.” The blogger further urges her fellow Israelis to be patient:

What happens then is that the president conducts consultations with the various factions and then gives the job of forming the coalition to the head of the party that has the best chance of creating a coalition, not necessarily to the party that got more votes. None of this will happen before next week at the earliest.

What we do now is wait patiently and try not to get annoyed with the nonsense the TV commentators are spouting. Remember, they have to make a living and in their case this means yammering on, even when they have nothing meaningful to say. If you must, I’d say take note only of things said by veteran political commentators like Hanan Kristal and Yaron Dekel etc.

Meanwhile Yaeli, who blogs at Aliyah! Step-by-Step: Making a Life in Israel, remarks:

Nobody ever could say our electoral process is simple. Not only do we have the whole coalition nightmare but we also have a distribution of “excess votes.”

Yaeli, who explains the electoral system in Israel, shares this piece of information with us, saying:

Something else I’d like to mention regarding Israeli elections and the importance of votes cast. Every citizen’s ability to vote is considered of prime importance and every effort is made to insure that every citizen can vote. In places like the U.S. and other places, a citizen can lose (permanently!) the right to vote if, for instance, they commit a felony. So criminals can’t vote in the U.S. Here, criminals vote no matter what their crime. Voting units set up shop in the prisons so that all citizens incarcerated there can cast their vote. Mobile voting units also go to hospitals and nursing homes and visit each individual bedside of those who cannot get up to give them the opportunity to cast their vote if they so desire.

David Bogner, at Treppenwitz, calls upon Kadima chairman Tzipi Livni to ‘honour her word’ when she said “Honour [the people's decision.” He writes:

“Honor [the people's] decision!”

These were the words spoken by Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni late last night… and for once I agree with her!

Of course, one has to keep in mind that her party received only one more mandate than the rival Likud in the Knesset elections… far from a decisive victory.

And it also bears a mention that this declaration of victory comes well before all the votes from soldiers and government officials serving abroad have been counted (and a full week before the final tally has been certified). But yes, strictly speaking, Kadima seems to have edged Likud in the number of seats each respectively won.

He further adds:

So yes, while I am in full agreement with Ms. Livni's statement (for once), I don't think she has yet grasped the fact that the people have decided that they overwhelmingly prefer the policies, platforms and parties of the political right to those of the left.

I hope she will take her own advice and honor their decision.

Aussie Dave, writing at Israellycool, live blogs election day here here while Muse, at Shiloh Musings, has photographs to share from the day.

Further information on elections in Israel is available from Wikipedia here.

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