Israeli voters cast their votes in the general elections, the fourth in two years, as part of what observers see as a referendum regarding the political fate of the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Voting operations in the past three elections had ended without a majority in favor of a specific party, and a national unity government formed to get out of that political impasse collapsed last December.
Recent opinion polls indicate the possibility of a repeat of the same stalemate that was reflected in the results of previous rounds, and that it will produce results that do not resolve the majority.
This time, elections are held and the Israelis are barely emerging from a state of lockdown imposed to limit the spread of the Corona virus, and it also comes two weeks before the resumption of Netanyahu’s trial in corruption cases.
The Israeli Prime Minister faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, but he denies all of them, saying that the motives behind them are mainly political.
A coalition is suffering
Since last March, the Israeli government imposed three closures to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.
Opponents accused Netanyahu of mismanaging this file, but the country’s economy has recovered to a large extent with the decline in the number of injuries and deaths in the past few weeks.
Netanyahu also considered the anti-virus vaccination program and the speed with which it is progressing a great achievement for his government.
At the height of the epidemic, Israel was one of the countries most affected by it, but its residents at the present time are among the first in the world to be vaccinated.
Away from the Coronavirus crisis, the opposition parties focus on discussing the political influence of Netanyahu, who is the prime minister who has spent the longest term in this position in the country’s history, making them likely that the country deserves a change and a rotation of power.
Netanyahu has held the post of prime minister since 2009, and he also served in that position for a three-year term in the 1990s.
Expectations indicate that the right-wing Likud party, headed by Netanyahu, may win the largest number of seats in the Israeli Knesset, but it may not succeed in obtaining the 61 seats that entitle it to form a government without the support of other parties.
The Israeli electoral system has previously resulted in governmental coalitions or, in rare cases, national unity governments since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Nevertheless, opinion polls suggest that even if a governing coalition is formed from right-wing parties, this coalition may struggle to reach the required number of parliamentary seats necessary for the prime minister to remain in office.
It is expected that the opposition parties to the Netanyahu government will outpace the pro-Netanyahu bloc, but analysts believe that even if the opposition parties win 61 seats, the political division among them may prevent them from forming a governing coalition.
If all the blocs fail to form a reliable majority, we may see a new call for voters to vote in a fifth round of general elections in Israel.
Israel has been plunged into a state of political paralysis that has continued to haunt it since the April 2019 elections, in which Likud won the largest number of votes, but failed to form a government coalition. Despite the party’s strong support for Netanyahu, demonstrations are held against him every week in front of his home in Jerusalem, except for those periods that witnessed tight closures.
Tens of thousands participated in those demonstrations, which took place last Saturday at night, and are one of the largest gatherings of their kind since the beginning of the weekly wave of demonstrations against Netanyahu.