Considering that the norm in Israel is to have elections earlier than legally scheduled, the country always suffers a form of “election fever.” Yes, think of it as a chronic “infection.”
Besides scheduled Knesset, remember that here the MKs are elected on party lists, not as individuals, Elections, there are two basic ways that elections can be called. One is that the ruling coalition loses a crucial vote which “brings down the government,” and the second way is for the sitting Prime Minister to “call for early elections.”
The Opposition has to grow to a considerable parliamentary strength for the first, which means that coalition MKs must have deserted the ship. Prime Ministers usually call for early elections when they think they can improve and expand their coalition. But that is risky, because as PM Netanyahu recently discovered; polls can change in a jiffy.
It’s no secret that two young party leaders are dreaming of unseating long-serving Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. They are Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett.
Bennett is trying to do it from the inside and the Right. Leader of the NRP, now called Bayit Yehudi-Jewish Home, Bennett has had a rather turbulent relationship with Bibi. He’s trying to make history by radically changing the NRP from perennial sidekick to national leadership.
Yair Lapid came from the Left, forming his own party, which has been evolving to more Center Right in his quest for the “big prize.” And recent polls show that his Yesh Atid, There’s a Future, is running neck and neck with Netanyahu’s Likud.
But it’s very possible that Lapid will have the same unpleasant experience that Tsipi Livne had a few years ago when she was at the helm of Kadima. Even though Kadima had scraped by with more MKs, than the Likud she wasn’t able to form a ruling coalition. Bibi succeeded, and Tsipi is now just a postscript in Israeli political history.
Remember that Netanyahu has lasted as Prime Minister all this time not by chance. He’s a very experienced and wily politician. I don’t think that Bennett or Lapid will have an easy job unseating him. They’d have to join forces, sort of like the rotation that Labor and Likud tried in 1984 when Yitzchak Shamir and Shimon Peres took turns as Prime Minister. Yes, that’s pretty hard to imagine, but the Shamir-Peres deal also seemed more like Political Science Fiction.
And what do you think?