Brain Bush’s Blog

The Election Battle

  • By : Brian Bush
  • January 29, 2009
  • 6:58 pm

Greetings Friends,

Well, the news and the talk on the street – both with Israelis and Palestinians, is full of analysis of Mr. Gearge Mitchell's schedule of meetings. But the real story is in the elections coming up for Prime Minister in 12 short days.

Let's give you a little run down on where things are at.

The battle is heating up. Although there are three candidates – only two now seriously have a shot at it.

The odd man out is Defense Minister Ehud Barak. It is true he gained significantly as a result of the Gaza operation – but those gains only bring him and his Labor Party out of the ditch they were in prior to the military offensive.

The fact is that the Right is the big winner – and even Avigdor Lieberman, the far right ultra nationalist from Russia is overtaking Barak and his Labor Party in the seat count for the Knesset.

This is the same guy who revived Mr. Olmert's left-wing Government by joining it the during Israel's conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 – where Olmerts popularity sunk fast and, in exchange for the lifeline given to him, Mr. Olmert made Mr. Lieberman a hypothetical 'strategic threats' portfolio as a Cabinet Minister. He is now near facing a huge criminal investigation.

Lieberman then re-invented himself and his party shifting from the Left to the Right.

So, what we have now is a strengthening of the Right-wing bloc, and signs of stability for Mr. Bibi Netanyahu's Likud party. Mr. Netanyahu looks poised to be elected in the opinion poles.

Tzipi Livni, the Kadima leader, is thus the main opponent offering a more centralist platform to counter Bibi's Right wing Government.

Togo against Bibi's momentum, senior Kadima figures are considering a “Just Not Shas” campaign.

Shas is the large Orthodox party that wishes to turn the so-called secular State of Israel into a religious State that follows a very strick interpretation of Jewish religious law which they purport – mainly the Haredi movement. Shas is politically headed by Mr. Eli Yishai.

It was the Shas vote that placed Bibi in power the last time he became Prime Minister.

This campain idea of Kadima's may be an attempt to exploit a Eli Yishai-Netanyahu Haredi pact that is liable to hurt the Likud. This new strategy forming in the Kadima means that Livni will promise not to include Shas in her government if she wins elections.

She may have a point, because a pact with Eli Yishai is beginning to worry the Likud Chairman. The assessment of some political analysts in the party is: a Haredi-rightist image is liable to send 4-5 seats to Livni and the Kadima party – and that puts us neck and neck in the race.

With 20% of voters still floating – that's very important.

Have a good day all,

Brian

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