Israelis will head to polling stations across the country on Tuesday to elect the 25th MP. With its fifth ballot in less than four years, multiple polls predict very stiff competition between the two blocs of parliament, winning a majority of 61 MPs in a 120-seat parliament. There is no bloc to establish a government, and a definite possibility of a further stalemate. .
The front-runners in the campaign to form a government are former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party and its right-wing Religious Alliance, as well as current Interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the centrist Yeshu Atid party and his diverse crew of supporters. member, in large part due to opposition to Netanyahu. Another hopeful candidate for him is Defense Minister Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity Party.
Netanyahu’s camp has the strongest polls, in the late 50s and up to 61 seats in major network polls. Rapid’s campaign says he has never passed 56 seats in these polls, and he can’t say for sure how he will shape the government if the polls prove to be true. was. Rather, if these unreliable investigations are accurate, Rapid’s best hope may be to prevent Netanyahu or another candidate from convening a viable coalition.
Gantz has sought to position himself as an alternative to both Netanyahu and Rapid, inspiring strong opposition from political rivals. Political parties are involved, and it is unclear how he himself achieves his magical number.
That said, there are many factors in the balance that could change the map of the Knesset predicted by pollsters and experts. Even a small change could destabilize the stalemate and pave the way to power for one of her competitors.
1. Arab voter turnout
There are three Arab lists running in the current election, and their fate could seal the fate of the Lapid-led bloc. Arab voter turnout could be an important issue, as Arab voter turnout is expected to be lower than in previous rounds.
The Islamist Ra’am Party, a member of the breakaway coalition, sits in the Rapid or Gantz government, while the Hadash Tahr alliance historically forms a non-allied third wedge, unavailable to either bloc. Did. Both remain close to the electoral threshold and, without significant turnout, could collapse.
Balad, the Palestinian nationalist party, is not expected to top a minimum of 3.25% of the vote, despite 1.6% in Channel 12’s last pre-election poll.
Hadash-Ta’al in particular has been unnerved by the odds, calling on Jewish voters to hold a “strategic” vote on a rare weekend to ensure they win at least four seats on Tuesday.
About 17% of Israel’s approximately 6.8 million eligible voters are Arab, according to data from the Central Statistics Office and the Central Election Commission. Historically, Israel’s Arab community, including Muslims, Christians, and Druze, had lower turnout than Jewish voters.
In the last election, Arab voter turnout dropped to a record low of 44%, compared to 72% of Jewish voters and 67% of voters overall. Low voter turnout meant less representation of Arab parties in the Knesset. In 2020, Arab delegates reached a record 15 seats when her four Arab parties ran together in a joint list. After Rahm was removed from the joint list in 2021, his only 10 joint seats were won by the two.
Arab voter turnout has been at a low of 37% and a high of 48% in recent weeks as the joint list is further subdivided into Hadash Thar and Balad and Raam continues with another campaign.
Should either Hadash-Ta’al or Ra’am fail to return to the Knesset, the Likud-led bloc would be expected to profit proportionately, paving the way for power. If both fail, Netanyahu’s prospects will be even better.
Both being in the Knesset opens an opportunity for Rapid to stop the formation of another government. Likud claims it may even pursue a coalition that includes or depends on Hadash Thar. Both Lapid and Hadash-Ta’al countered this as a potential scenario.
On the final day of the campaign, some analysts have suggested that Arab participation may prove higher than polls suggest, with even Ballad trailing the Knesset’s 3.25%. We are getting close to clearing the threshold. Previous elections have shown that pollsters have particular trouble predicting Arab votes.
2. Haredi voter turnout
New concerns over the Haredi turnout have emerged as voters allied with the Ashkenazi Haredi party, United Torah Judaism, are dissatisfied with the party’s management after a year in the opposition. It’s been on the rise in the last few weeks.
UTJ currently has 7 seats and we poll consistently to return this number. A low voter turnout or losing votes to another right-wing party could drop this number to six. This scenario has caused much panic in Haredi’s political circles. However, it only affects the immediate stalemate if the seat leaves the block.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Haredi voters make up 11% of the electorate and the majority of their votes go to the UTJ and Mizrahi Haredi’s party Shas. In the last election, Haredi’s turnout reached 80% of his turnout.
However, the Kan public broadcaster reported that voter turnout in Haredi is expected to drop by 12% by mid-October.
The surge in popularity of Otsma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Guvir, especially among younger and nationalist Haredi voters, has also pulled the party’s vote away, according to polls. there is
According to Kang, about 6% of Haredi’s vote could be siphoned off by religious Zionist Otuma Yehudit. lose seats.
3. Former Yamina voters looking for homes
Former ruling party Yamina won seven seats under Naftali Bennett in 2021, unexpectedly propelling him to the premiership, but didn’t even get a vote this November. The dissolution of the party created some political refugees.
Nearly a third of Yamina’s March 2021 voters identify as followers of the state religion and are generally among the moderate and mainstream of the diverse national religious spectrum. It also garnered support from some secular right-wing and traditional voters.
By contrast, 61% of the 2021 voters of the Religious Zionist Party are the national religion, and the party is seen as representing the extreme right end of that spectrum.
Yamina’s legacy is now best represented by the Jewish Home and its leader, Bennett’s former lieutenant Ayelet Shaked. But the Communist Party has consistently struggled in the polls, with the major network’s final poll over the weekend giving him only 2% to 1.5%.
Many former Yamina voters have transitioned to religious Zionism or another right-wing or centrist party, but some are still considering voting for Shaked.
Shaked says Netanyahu needs her to complete the numbers for his government. Netanyahu’s camp alleges that she is putting her entire enterprise at risk by burning her right-wing votes on her way out of the Knesset.
If voters feel hopeless and abandon her, it could reduce the number of wasted right-wing votes and push Netanyahu closer to the majority. Conversely, if Sheikhd exceeds her expectations and joins the Knesset, she will either give Netanyahu an extra seat, or keep her seat for Netanyahu in case they pluck it from Likud in the first place. maybe.
4. Left-wing parties reaching their limits
The election could tilt in Netanyahu’s direction if two more parties in the Rapid campaign do poorly. Left-wing Meretz and center-left Laver are teetering near the threshold. With not much movement between blocks, much of Yesh Atid’s gradual rise in polls over the months of the campaign came at the cost of cannibalizing his partner on the left. Meretz and the Labor Party have made desperate last-minute efforts to convince voters to come out and vote for themselves rather than increase the number of seats Rapid’s Yeshu Atid wants to win.
If either the Labor Party or Meretz drop out of the Knesset, polls easily predict Netanyahu’s victory.
Labor leader Merav Michaeli outright rejected Rapid’s attempt to unite the party with Meretz before the September slate deadline, favoring Labor over what she perceived would provide a lifeline for Meretz. He preferred to keep it as an independent organization.
Will that decision come back to haunt her?
5. Yes, the weather
Perhaps the most mundane factor, expected bad weather can make unmotivated voters less willing to go to the polls. Experts expect this could lead to lower voter turnout in some areas.
Israelis must vote in person at certain designated polling places, except in special circumstances such as COVID-19-related quarantines, disabilities, and hospitalizations.
On the other hand, rains across Israel make beach trips, hiking and family picnics less appealing. Most Israelis enjoy the time off from work, so it’s an activity that historically competes with voting obligations.