Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Bowen diary: Low key vote

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 9 febbraio, 2009

BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen’s diary of the Israeli election.

8 FEBRUARY

Israel feels as if it has developed an immunity to election fever. Not surprising, perhaps, since this country has a lot of elections.

Relentlessly negative advertising by all sides does not help much either.

This election feels very low key.

The first Israeli election I covered was in 1996. I seem to remember that the streets were full of posters, and crowds of youngsters from competing parties crowded round cars at traffic lights giving out leaflets and stickers.

This morning I met a leading Israeli pollster, Camil Fuchs, on the campus of Tel Aviv University.

He also does polling for Channel 10 TV and Ha’aretz newspaper. I wanted to talk about the way Israeli elections are always about war and peace.

He said they were, but this time he had not heard the parties saying much about peace. Plenty of them talked about war though.

Camil said that his polling showed that Israelis believed the war in Gaza had been inconclusive. Voters, he said, wanted to believe in peace, but did not trust the peace process, or the Palestinians.

The man who at this stage looks most likely to form a government is the leader of the Likud, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Mr Netanyahu says that Israel missed an opportunity in Gaza to finish Hamas. He promises to finish the job.

In the final polls the centrist Kadima party, led by Tzipi Livni, has been closing the gap on Mr Netanyahu’s Likud.

But the electoral arithmetic of coalition-building is on his side. He is likely to have more allies in the next Knesset.

If Binyamin Netanyahu is not the next prime minister, it will be an upset for the pollsters.

It has happened before.

He won that election back in 1996, beating Shimon Peres by the narrowest of margins.

It was so close that the country went to sleep that night thinking that Mr Peres was going to keep the job he had inherited after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin the year before.

So when the exit polls come out after the voting ends on Tuesday, be a little cautious until the votes are counted.

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