Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bibi Was Too Arrogant by Half

I knew Bibi's decision to call for elections 9 months earlier than scheduled would bite him in the ass, a subject I posted on back in October.  All politics and especially Israeli politics is unpredictable.  So it's no surprise that instead of coasting to an easy victory, Bibi just posted "Likud rule in danger" on his Facebook wall.  His merger with Yisrael Beitenu, which was supposedly going to create an unstoppable juggernaut, adding 15 seats to Likud's total, has been a disaster.  According to exit polls summarized by the Times of Israel, the combined party may not even muster 30 seats in the Knesset, meaning the merger may have only added a total of 2 seats to Likud's total.  It sure didn't help that Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu, was just indicted.  Nor did it help that many of the pro-settler right wing Yisrael Beitenu voters seem to have migrated to Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home party (many on the right trust Bibi about as much as tea partiers trusted Mitt Romney), which is now expected to have 16 seats compared to just 5 in the outgoing Knesset.  

Is Likud's rule really in danger?  Probably not.  It looks like the right wing parties can still muster about 61 seats in the next Knesset, down from a far more comfortable 67 seats which was the total expected around Christmas.  Also, there is still a big gap between Likud and the other parties, so its still expected to be the largest (it will likely have 29 versus just 16 for the runner up, either Yesh Atid or Jewish Home).  But what if there is a post election merger of some of the center left parties (e.g. Yesh Atid, Labor, Hatnuah and or Kadima)?  You could suddenly see a party that has a bigger total than Likud.  And given some animosity between Bibi's wife and Naftali Bennett, it's possible that you could see the Jewish Home join a center-left government.  And since Shas and UTJ go to whoever gives the most funding for their schools, they could also throw their weight towards a center-left government as well.  This may be a low probability scenario but so was Likud finishing at 30 seats just a little while ago.    

Anyway, let's hope that Bibi, who does have quite a few faults, retains his office.  Otherwise, Iran is all but guaranteed the bomb.

No comments:

Post a Comment