Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

Israel elections: both sides claim victory

Posted by claudiacampli su 11 febbraio, 2009

Times


Israel faced what could be weeks of political uncertainty today after an election that ended with clashing claims of victory by the Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her rival Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nearly final results gave Ms Livni’s Kadima party 28 seats to 27 for Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party in the 120-member parliament. The Foreign Minister said she would become Prime Minister and invited him to join a “unity government”.

Mr Netanyahu, pointing to what he called a large “nationalist camp” in parliament, said he would head a coalition government, comprised of rightist parties.

“With God’s help I will lead the next government,” Mr Netanyahu, 59, told Likud supporters.

Addressing cheering Kadima activists, Ms Livni, 50, said: “The Israeli public can smile again when we form the government.” She would become Israel’s first woman prime minister since Golda Meir governed in the 1970s.

Summing up the stalemate was the front page of Israel’s biggest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, with “I won,” next to photos of both candidates.

It will be up to President Shimon Peres to decide, after hearing recommendations from political parties, whether to ask Ms Livni, a former Mossad agent and relative newcomer to politics, or Mr Netanyahu, a former prime minister, to try to put together an administration.

The overall rightward shift in the Knesset will, in any case, dent hopes in President Obama’s administration for an Israeli coalition that can move towards peace with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbours after last month’s war in the Gaza Strip.

Much will depend on Avigdor Lieberman, the right-wing nationalist whose tough anti-Arab rhetoric has brought his Yisrael Beitenu party to third place in the exit polls, overtaking Israel’s founding Labour party for the first time in its history.

That means that any future coalition will have to court Mr Lieberman, who is ideologically closer to Likud but not entirely hostile to Kadima, many of whose members are former Likudniks.

Mr Netanyahu can in theory rally 65 seats. Along with Likud’s 27, there are the 15 seats won by Yisrael Beitenu, 11 from the ultra-Orthodox Shas, five from the religious United Torah Judaism party and seven from two extreme-rightwing settler parties, Jewish Home and National Union.

Ms Livni on the other hand can count on support of 44 MPs: Kadima’s 28, 13 from Labour and three from the left-wing Meretz.The remaining 11 seats are held by Arab parties, which are highly unlikely to join any coalition.

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