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The Info List - Israeli Legislative Election, 2009



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ELECTIONS FOR THE 18TH KNESSET were held in Israel
Israel
on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
as leader of the Kadima
Kadima
party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
, to form a coalition government . Had Olmert remained in office or had Livni formed a coalition government, the elections would have been scheduled for 2010 instead.

Although the incumbent prime minister's party, Kadima, won the most seats in the parliament, the Likud
Likud
leader Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
was able to form a majority coalition government and become the new prime minister.

CONTENTS

* 1 Background * 2 Procedures

* 3 Parties

* 3.1 Alliances * 3.2 New parties

* 4 Opinion polls * 5 Results

* 6 Government formation

* 6.1 Unity Government 2012

* 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links

BACKGROUND

On 17 September 2008, Kadima
Kadima
held a leadership election , which was won by Tzipi Livni. Following Livni's victory, former party leader Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
(who did not run in the contest) resigned as Prime Minister. Livni was given six weeks to form a coalition, but set a deadline of 26 October for parties to agree to join the new government.

Although the Labor Party agreed to join, current coalition members Shas
Shas
rejected the opportunity, with Livni claiming that they had made "economically and diplomatically illegitimate" demands (which included a reluctance to increasing child benefits and rejecting the possible division of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
in a deal with the Palestinians ). It was reported that Shas
Shas
had rejected almost one billion shekels in child allowances offered to them as part of the coalition negotiations. Gil and United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism
had both rejected offers to join while negotiations with Meretz-Yachad
Meretz-Yachad
were still ongoing. On 26 October, Livni recommended to President Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
that early elections be held.

President Peres had three days to consult on the recommendation, after which there was a period of three weeks in which other Knesset members could have offered to form an alternative coalition, but no such alternative was brought.

The election would have to be held within 90 days after the end of that period. Although Kadima
Kadima
submitted a bill to the Knesset
Knesset
on 27 October to call early elections and bypass the three-week period, Peres's announcement to the Knesset
Knesset
that there was no chance of forming a government meant that the full waiting period stood. Ehud Olmert was to remain the caretaker Prime Minister until a new government was formed after the elections.

The traditional distinction between the Israeli left and the right had become blurred, with both the voters and the main candidates gravitating toward the center. Israelis, who had always been highly politicized, were switching affiliations more easily. On the Palestinian front, stark differences among the parties still remained. Kadima
Kadima
was committed to continuing talks for a two-state solution . Labor did not believe that bilateral Israeli–Palestinian negotiations could succeed under the current circumstances and advocated a more comprehensive, regional approach to peace. Likud
Likud
said it would promote an "economic peace" with the Palestinians and also hold political negotiations, although it was not clear about what.

PROCEDURES

Main article: Elections in Israel
Israel

Elections to the Knesset
Knesset
allocate 120 seats by party-list proportional representation , using the D\'Hondt method . The election threshold for the 2006 election was set at 2% (up from 1.5% in previous elections), which is a little over two seats.

After official results are published, the President delegates the task of forming a government to the member of Knesset
Knesset
with the best chance of assembling a majority coalition (usually the leader of the largest party, but not required). That member has up to 42 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his or her government to the Knesset
Knesset
for a vote of confidence . Once the government is approved (by a vote of at least 61 members), he or she becomes Prime Minister.

PARTIES

By 23 December, a record 43 parties had registered with the parties registrar, compared to 31 for the 2006 elections , although in the end, only 34 parties submitted a list of candidates and only 33 ran on election day. On 12 January 2009, Balad and the United Arab List –Ta\'al alliance were disqualified by the Central Elections Committee on the grounds that they failed to recognise Israel
Israel
as a Jewish state and called for armed conflict against it. Balad and Ta'al were also disqualified from the 2003 election , but won a Supreme Court case which allowed them to run. On 21 January 2009, the Supreme Court again revoked the ban.

ALLIANCES

The Labor – Meimad alliance, in existence since 1999, was ended prior to the elections. Labor ran on its own, and Meimad ran a joint list with the new Green Movement .

Meretz
Meretz
and Tnu'a HaHadasha, a new movement of left-wing activists led by Tzali Reshef , ran a joint list, with Tnua'a HaHadasha representatives getting third, seventh and eleventh spots on the alliance's list.

The anti-West Bank barrier movement Tarabut has merged into Hadash
Hadash
.

The religious Zionist Ahi party, previously part of the National Union alliance, merged into Likud
Likud
in late December 2008. Ultra-orthodox parties Agudat Israel
Israel
and Degel HaTorah agreed to continue their alliance, United Torah Judaism, for the election.

NEW PARTIES

Several political parties have been established since the 2006 elections. The first was Social Justice , founded by billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak
Arcadi Gaydamak
in February 2007 (which in the end did not run in the election), and Yisrael Hazaka was established by the former Labor member of the Knesset, Efraim Sneh
Efraim Sneh
in May 2008.

After the announcement of elections in late October 2008, the Tkuma and Moledet factions of the National Union and the National Religious Party merged into a single party in early November 2008, which was later named The Jewish Home
The Jewish Home
. However, the National Union was re-established after the Moledet and Tkuma factions broke away from the party and agreed an alliance with Hatikva headed by Aryeh Eldad and Eretz Yisrael Shelanu (Our Land of Israel) headed by Rabbi Sholom Dov Wolpo and Baruch Marzel
Baruch Marzel
.

Member of the Knesset
Knesset
Abbas Zakour left the United Arab List to establish the Arab Centre Party in early December 2008. However, he later joined the Balad list.

OPINION POLLS

Main article: Opinion polling for the Israeli legislative election, 2009

SOURCE PARTY

KADIMA LABOR PARTY SHAS LIKUD YISRAEL BEITEINU JEWISH HOME NATIONAL UNION GIL UNITED TORAH JUDAISM MERETZ UNITED ARAB LIST–TA\'AL HADASH BALAD THE GREENS

17th Knesset 29 19 12 12 11 9 7 6 5 4 3 3 0

Dahaf 27 Oct 29 11 11 26 9 7 2 7 6 10 2

Teleseker 27 Oct 31 11 8 29 11 7 0 4 5 11 3

Gal Hadash 30 Oct 30 13 10 31 8 6 0 5 5 10 2

Gal Hadash 13 Nov 28 11 10 33 7 6 0 5 7 10 3

Dialog 20 Nov 28 10 10 34 10 4 0 6 7 11 0

Dahaf 20 Nov 26 8 11 32 9 6 0 7 7 11 3

Shvakim Panorama 15 Dec 20 14 12 34 11 4 0 7 6 9 0

Teleseker 19 Dec 30 12 9 30 12 5 0 5 7 10 0

Dialog 25 Dec 26 11 13 30 11 6 2 5 8 3 3 2 –

Dialog 31 Dec 27 16 9 32 11 3 – 5 7 4 4 2 –

Reshet Bet 15 Jan 21 15 10 28 15 3 3 0 7 5 4 3 3 3

Panels 22 Jan 24 15 10 30 15 2 4 – 5 6 4 3 2 –

Dialog 29 Jan 25 14 10 28 15 3 4 2 5 5 4 3 2 –

Midgam 3 Feb 23 17 10 28 18 4 3 – 5 4 2 4 2 –

Teleseker 4 Feb 23 17 10 27 17 3 4 – 5 6 4 4 0 –

Shvakim Panorama 5 Feb 21 16 11 25 16 4 4 2 7 5 3 4 2 –

Panels 5 Feb 25 14 10 26 18 3 4 – 5 6 3 4 2 –

Dahaf 6 Feb 23 16 10 25 19 3 4 – 6 5 4 3 2 –

Dialog 6 Feb 25 14 9 27 18 2 4 – 6 7 3 3 2 –

SOURCE

KADIMA LABOR PARTY SHAS LIKUD YISRAEL BEITEINU JEWISH HOME NATIONAL UNION GIL UNITED TORAH JUDAISM MERETZ UNITED ARAB LIST–TA\'AL HADASH BALAD THE GREENS

PARTY

RESULTS

The Likud
Likud
Party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
. Although the Likud party was placed second in the 2009 elections, because the right-wing parties won a majority, Netanyahu managed to form a coalition government after the elections and thus became the new Prime minister. ballot papers

The Knesset
Knesset
Board of Elections released the official result:

e • d SUMMARY OF THE 10 FEBRUARY 2009 ISRAELI KNESSET ELECTION RESULTS PARTY VOTES % VOTES SEATS +/– % SEATS

Kadima
Kadima
758,032 22.47% 28 −1 23.33%

Likud
Likud
729,054 21.61% 27 +15 22.50%

Yisrael Beiteinu
Yisrael Beiteinu
394,577 11.70% 15 +4 12.50%

Labor Party 334,900 9.93% 13 –6 10.83%

Shas
Shas
286,300 8.49% 11 –1 9.17%

United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism
147,954 4.39% 5 –1 4.17%

United Arab List –Ta\'al 113,954 3.38% 4 — 3.33%

National Union 112,570 3.34% 4

3.33%

Hadash
Hadash
112,130 3.32% 4 +1 3.33%

New Movement- Meretz
Meretz
99,611 2.95% 3 –2 2.50%

The Jewish Home
The Jewish Home
96,765 2.87% 3

2.50%

Balad 83,739 2.48% 3 — 2.50%

The Green Movement – Meimad 27,737 0.82% — –1 —

Gil 17,571 0.52% — –7 —

Ale Yarok 13,132 0.39% — — —

The Greens 12,378 0.37% — — —

Yisrael Hazaka 6,722 0.20% — — —

Tzabar 4,752 0.14% — — —

Koah LeHashpi\'a 3,696 0.11% — — —

Da\'am Workers Party 2,645 0.08% — — —

Yisrael HaMithadeshet 2,572 0.08% — — —

Holocaust Survivors and Ale Yarok Alumni 2,346 0.07% — — —

Leader 1,887 0.06% — — —

Tzomet 1,520 0.05% — — —

Koah HaKesef 1,008 0.03% — — —

Man\'s Rights in the Family Party 921 0.03% — — —

HaYisraelim 856 0.03% — — —

Or 815 0.02% — — —

Ahrayut 802 0.02% — — —

Brit Olam 678 0.02% — — —

Lev LaOlim 632 0.02% — — —

Lazuz 623 0.02% — — —

Lehem 611 0.02% — — —

Valid votes 3,373,490 98.74%

Invalid or blank votes 43,097 1.26%

TOTALS 3,416,587 100.00% 120 — 100.00%

Registered voters/turnout 5,278,985 64.72%

Source: Knesset
Knesset
Board of Elections

A The four parties making up National Union had six seats in the previous elections in the combined National Union−National Religious Party slate. The Ahi party (2 seats) left the National Union and joined the Likud. B The Jewish Home
The Jewish Home
(formerly the National Religious Party ) had three seats in the combined National Union− National Religious Party slate. The two parties together won 7 seats in this election for a net loss of 2.

GOVERNMENT FORMATION

Former Kadima
Kadima
Party chairwoman Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
. Although Kadima
Kadima
won the most seats in the 2009 elections under her leadership, it became an opposition party.

On 20 February the President Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
announced that Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
would be given the task of forming a government. This is the first time in which the president had not appointed the head of the largest party for this task, although there had already been several cases in which the Prime Minister was not the head of the largest party. Such a case occurred in the 1996 elections , when Netanyahu himself was elected Prime Minister by direct vote although his Likud
Likud
party won fewer seats than Shimon Peres's Labor party. Peres's motivation in nominating Netanyahu was likely based upon the judgment that Netanyahu was in a better position numerically to put together a coalition. Likud's potential partners on the political right won more seats than the parties of the centre-left, who would more likely support Kadima.

Labor and Kadima
Kadima
initially stated they would not join a Likud-led government, although both parties scheduled further talks. Polls at the time showed that the public supported a national unity government between Likud
Likud
and Kadima, with either Yisrael Beitenu or Labor as the third senior coalition member.

On 16 March 2009, Netanyahu signed a coalition agreement with Yisrael Beitenu. Following an extension of the coalition negotiation deadline from 20 March to 3 April 2009, he then signed a coalition agreement with Shas
Shas
on 22 March 2009, and on 24 March 2009 he secured the support of the Labor Party, with Labor's central committee approving the deal by 680 votes to 507. However, large parts of the party remained sceptical, accusing Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
of only being interested in his own benefits under the deal. On 25 March, the Jewish Home also joined the coalition.

On 30 March, in accordance with the Israeli Basic Law , Netanyahu informed Peres and acting Knesset
Knesset
speaker , Michael Eitan
Michael Eitan
, that he was able to form a government and the Knesset
Knesset
was set to convene on 31 March 2009, in order to vote on the government in a "Vote of Confidence" and to be sworn in thereafter. The country's 32nd government was approved that day by a majority of 69 lawmakers, with United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism
joined the following day, expanding the coalition to 74 MKs.

UNITY GOVERNMENT 2012

On 27 March 2012, the Opposition party Kadima
Kadima
called for leadership primaries, pitting its leader Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
against Shaul Mofaz. Mofaz won with 62% of the vote. Livni resigned from the Knesset
Knesset
in May 2012.

Earlier, Netanyahu defeated his rival Moshe Feiglin , winning 77% of the vote in the primaries for the Likud
Likud
leadership held on 31 January 2012.

On the eve of 7 May 2012, after weeks of deliberation and rumours, Netanyahu called for an early general national election and proposed 4 September as the election day, a notion which seemed inevitable. However, in a dramatic turn of events, that very night Netanyahu announced that he had forged a unity government with the Kadima
Kadima
Party, effectively retracting the earlier call for early elections. The next afternoon, Likud
Likud
and Kadima
Kadima
signed a coalition agreement placing Kadima's 28 Knesset
Knesset
members in the government, with Mofaz appointed as Active Vice Premier (in case of Netanyahu's absence) and Minister Without Portfolio. This agreement bolstered the government to the widest government in Israel's history, with a coalition of 94 seats and an opposition of only 26. But on 17 July, Kadima
Kadima
voted to pull out of the coalition. The coalition did, however, still have a majority of seats even without Kadima. However, the reduced coalition was now divided between nationalist groups such as Yisrael Beiteinu and Haredi
Haredi
groups such as Shas
Shas
, which are on opposite sides of the universal draft issue. This led some commentators to suggest that the coalition's complete breakup was imminent and that new elections would take place by January 2013.

SEE ALSO

* List of members of the eighteenth Knesset
Knesset

REFERENCES

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EXTERNAL LINKS

* Knesset
Knesset
site with official results (in Hebrew) * Elections in Israel
Israel
- February 2009 from the Israel
Israel
Ministry of Foreign Affairs * Where they stand: Israeli election 2009

Analysis

* Israel\'s Elections: Making a Hard Right By TIM MCGIRK, Time Feb. 08, 2009

* v * t * e

Elections in Israel
Israel

PA