With 99% of the votes counted from this week’s election Israel, it appears that the stalemate between the right and left party coalitions (that has forced three elections in the past year) will continue, with neither obtaining sufficient seats in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to form a majority.
The stalemate this past year has forced some consolidation in the number of parties, but not enough. Netanyahu’s conservative block remains the largest at 58 seats, but it needs 61 to form a government.
The problem remains the small party Yisrael Beytenu, which was once part of the conservative block but pulled out last year. Their leader, Avigdor Liberman, has repeatedly demanded the formation of a unity government, comprised of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party with the liberal Blue-and-White party, thereby cutting out the smaller religious parties that form the rest of Netanyahu’s block.
Though this position appears to have caused Yisrael Beytenu to lose one seat in the most recent election, its base, made up mostly of Russian immigrants, has remained firm. These votes, while tending to be conservative, seem also hostile to religion, thus explaining Liberman’s demands.
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