Monday, March 27, 2006

Israeli Elections

Israelis will be going to the polls tomorrow and the interesting thing is that no one really knows who is going to actually win. Most pollsters are giving Ehud Olmert lead Kadima (previously Ariel Sharon’s Forward Party) the lead in Knesset seats in (30-34 range) which is still a significant drop from the 40+ seats approval rating that Kadima enjoyed under the Sharon leadership. But a 30+ seat count in the Israeli parliament could allow Kadima to go ahead and form the next government coalition.

According to this Arutz Sheva article there is a valid reason why everyone (including the Israeli pollsters) are refusing to take the poll numbers seriously. 75% of all those Israelis contacted by various pollsters refused to answer or participate in poll questions. Of those who did respond; 25% remained undecided which translates roughly into approximately 28 seats up for grabs. Furthermore, of the 15-18% of Israelis who were polled that did have a clear political preference also stated that they would not hesitate to change their mind right up to the moment before they marked their ballot.

Evelyn Gordon has probably the best articles I have read recently on the potential right wing coalition/ alliances for control of the Knesset in the Jerusalem Post. One thing to bear in mind when discussing Israeli politics is that the political spectrum is shifted so far leftward that even the alleged “right-wing” parties come in to slightly left of the Canadian NDP.

Already pundits are predicting a potentially lower than average voter turnout which traditionally favours the more “right wing” political parties but with the 22,000 Israeli securities forces mobilized over the country and 85 terror alerts issued (and the IDF is claiming that 14 of the alerts represent “concrete” threats) who really knows?

Unlike Hamas or Fatah, I am hoping for a Kadima/Labor loss and am prayering for a Likud Coalition win.

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