Election Universe

10 key notes on the recent Israeli elections

10 key notes on the recent Israeli elections
March 24 2015, 20:29

Israelis headed to the polls on March 17 to elect their 20th Knesset (Parliament). The event was widely seen as a referendum on the governance of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu; who –after a close-fought campaign- has claimed victory.
His party Likud won 30 seats, six more than his closest follower the opposition Zionist Union (led by Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni), giving Netanyahu the possibility of a third consecutive term in the leadership of the country.
Below are the 10 key notes on the recent Israeli elections:
1. Nearly six million (5,883,365) eligible voters were able to cast ballots in 10,119 polling stations, which opened at 7am with the first exit polls due to be published at 10 pm.
2. Authorities were estimating that the elections would attract massive turnout (close to 80%). However, an estimated 71.8 percent of voters finally cast their ballots, the highest since 1999.
3. The 120 seats in the unicameral Knesset are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 4-year terms. In Israel, the President (Mr. Reuven Rivlin) is elected by parliament to serve a 7-year term and then the Prime Minister is designated by the President to serve a 4-year term.
4. According to the Central Election Committee, some 2,500 polling stations (an increase of 60 percent since the last election) were accessible for the physically handicapped, where over one million people with disabilities were able to cast their vote.
5. Exit polls were broadcast at 10 p.m. Tuesday (Election Day) on the 3 television networks, but official results will not be presented to President Reuven Rivlin until March 25.
6. Likud went from 20 Knesset seats in 2013 to 30 seats last week. The Winner: Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is a veteran of Israeli politics who has led the party Likud twice – in 1993-99, and since 2005. He has been nine years in power (over three non-contiguous terms). An now he is preparing for a likely third term.
7. The Zionist Union came in second with 24 seats led by Mr. Herzog (Labour party) and Ms. Livni (liberal Hatnua party). The parties that follow are Joint Arab List (14); Yesh Atid (11); Kulanu (10); Bayit Yehudi (8); Shas (7); United Torah Judaism (6); Yisrael Beytenu (6); and Meretz (4).
8. A new law in Isreal dictates the minimum number of Knesset seats a party can hold is four seats, or 3.25% of the general vote.
9. Formal consultations on forming a new government will begin next week. However, in the Israeli political system, the president is not obliged to call the head of the largest party to form the new government. President Rivlin will begin consultations with the elected parties after official results will come in next Wednesday 25. The expected goal is appointing Netanyahu to form a coalition government. The Prime Minister will have then four weeks to form a government, ending April 22, the eve of Independence Day.
10. According to The Jerusalem Post the right-wing bloc had increased its Knesset majority from 61 to 67 seats in this 2015 election.

Image by Eduardo Castro via Pixabay