Thursday, February 19, 2009

Netanyahu will be Prime Minister, Who will join the coalition?

Tzippi Livni chances of becoming Prime Minister have all but officially been eliminated. President Shimon Peres has been meeting with all 14 parties in the government to seek their recommendation for Prime Minister. The entire right wing block including Yisrael Betaynu has given their support to Netanyahu while, Meretz, Labour and the Arab parties have refused to endorse anybody.

The one glitch is that Yisrael Betaynu made their endorsement on condition that Kadima joined the government. Livni once again stated she would rather sit in the opposition rather than be in a right wing coalition. Peres will host a meeting tomorrow to try to convince both parties to form a National Unity government. Yisrael Betaynu's condition will be meaningless should they fail to agree.

Yisrael Betaynu leader, Avigdor Lieberman has made the argument that the country is best served with a government of Likud, Kadima and Yisrael Betaynu because it would be stable. He is right in that the three parties hold 68 seats on their own. Other parties would be welcome to join the coalition and add further stability. Netanyahu's natural right wing block is 11 seats shy of being able to form a government. Only Labour, Kadima and Yisrael Betaynu can fill the gap on their own. Labour has been ruled out and so are the other Left Wing and Arab Parties.

Yisrael Betaynu has a lot to gain with Kadima in the government. The religious parties are against his major platform planks. They are against reforming the system of marriage and conversions. They are against mandatory national service, which targets the misfeelings towards the Haredi community for their army/national service exemption. In the past Shas has held up attempts at electoral reform. They would lose power in any system that helps deliver more seats to the bigger parties. UTJ is a merger of 3 parties and went into the election with tons of internal fighting. They could only muster in 5 seats. They would also be hurt by most forms of electoral reform.

Yisrael Betaynu still holds a lot more power then people are giving them credit for. Any statements since the election have been to strengthen their influence on the government and their ability to bring in the vision that made them the third biggest party in the country. The Haredi parties need to compromise somewhere to hold a right wing government together. Livni has failed to get any other part to endorse her as Prime Minister. It is time for Kadima to spend some time in the opposition.

What will happen when all the dust settles? It is still too early to be certain.


Rafi Goldmeier said...

I did not understand YB's condition. Let's say Bibi makes Kadima a generous offer, as he says he intends to do. Let's say Kadima still refuses it, as Livni is insisting they will sit in the opposition.
Why should Lieberman remove his recommendation, if the unity is blocked by Kadima and not by Likud?

ehwhy said...

The way I see it is that the condition is moot. Every single party has said outright or by being silent that thy want Bibi to be PM.

He is making it clear that his goal is to implement his campaign promises as best he can. I think it was a warning to Shas and UTJ, that despite how evil they think he is, they need to be willing to compromise. There is still a scenario where they could be left out of the government. Under current conditions he does not have the same concern.