Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

‘Kadima ahead’ in Israeli vote

Posted by alicemarziali su 10 febbraio, 2009

 AL JAZEERA INTERNATIONALEarly exit polls indicate that the centrist Kadima party, led by Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, has gained a narrow lead over the opposition Likud party in Israel’s general election.

Kadima was placed just two points ahead of Likud, led by Benyamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, by unofficial exit polls broadcast on Israeli television.

Likud had consistently led in surveys since November last year, but Kadima appeared to have won back support in the final days before Tuesday’s vote.

Exit polls conducted by three Israeli television channels suggested that Kadima had retained its 29 Knesset seats, with Likud two seats behind.

Right-wing gains

The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, led by Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian immigrant, is believed to have won around 15 seats, pushing Labor, led by Ehud Barak, the current defence minister, into fourth place.

Likud members expressed dismay as internal polling indicated that Kadima had closed the gap between the two frontrunners.

“There is a sense of a missed opportunity. We had in the past a lead of up to five or six seats over Kadima and now we are down to one,” Roni Rimon, a Likud spokesman said, citing party estimates.

However, Yuval Steinitz, a Likud Knesset member, insisted in an interview with Al Jazeera that the exit-poll predictions would prove inaccurate.

“Last time Kadima got 32 seats [in exit polls] and in the morning it was 28 or 29. … I assume that tomorrow morning we will be leading by one or two seats,” he said.

Steinitz said Netanyahu would be selected to form a coalition because “Kadima and Livni can’t form a government … two or three months, ago she had more seats together with the Labor party and she failed”.

‘Collapse of Labor’

Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that the results spelled the “collapse of the Labor party”.

However, if Livni does maintain her projected narrow lead in the election and is selected to form a coalition government, she would seek to include Labor, he said.

Early exit poll projections
Israel channel 1:
Kadima – 30 seats
Likud – 28 seats

Israel Channel 2:
Kadima – 29 seats
Likud – 27 seats
Yisrael Beiteinu – 15 seats
Labor – 13 seats
Shas- 10 seats
Others – 26 seats

Israel Channel 10:
Kadima – 30 seats
Likud – 28 seats

“Her first choice [will be] to have as few parties as possible because as soon as you bring in the parties of the right, you have an unworkable government,” Ben-Ami said.

“A typical national unity government would be Kadima, Likud, Lieberman and Labor, while discarding all the parties to the far right.”

Noting that neither Livni nor Netanyahu could claim a “majority which could rally the Knesset”, Ben-Ami criticised the Israeli election system as “rather than being a vehicle for solving the problems for the nation and the conflict with Palestinians and the Arab world, it’s an obstacle”.

Ehud Barak, leader of the Labor party, accepted defeat in a speech late Tuesday but vowed to lobby for change to Israel’s political system.

“We can’t continue in this way. It is not possible that the party in power will have fewer than a quarter of members of parliament,” he said.

“You can’t have a governments that are always comprised of many governments and always require extreme compromise.”

Voter turnout was higher than expected, with more Israelis casting their ballot in the first few hours of voting than during the 2006 general election, electoral commission officials said.

By 8pm local time [18:00 GMT], almost 60 per cent of 5.3 million eligible voters had cast their ballot, compared to 57.2 per cent in the last parliamentary election.

Numerous opinion polls had indicated that voter turnout in Israel’s 18th parliamentary election could sink to an historic low.

Both frontrunners remained neck and neck in the polls before voting began, apparently prompting Israelis to cast their vote.

Majority requirement

To achieve a majority, a party or coalition must hold more than 60 of the 120-seat Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

However, under the Israeli electoral system, Shimon Peres, the president, will ask the person deemed most likely to get a working coalition to form a government, rather than the candidate with the most seats.

The chosen party will be given 28 days to form a coalition, a period which the president may extend by up to 14 days.

Polling closed at 10pm local time [20:00GMT], with final results expected in the early hours of Wednesday morning




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