Israel Election 2021: Parliamentary elections are going to be held for the fourth time in the last two years due to prolonged political deadlock in Israel and corruption charges against Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the poll surveys conducted before the voting today, there is expected to be a tough fight between Netanyahu’s supporters and their opponents. Apart from Netanyahu, Yair Lapid, Gideon Saar, and Naphtali Bennett are the main contenders for power in the parliamentary elections.
Netanyahu has been the Prime Minister of the country for the longest time (five times). He claims to have won the election on the basis of the success of the Kovid-19 vaccine in Israel and the improvement of diplomatic relations with Arab countries. With this, Netanyahu is facing strong opposition from opposition parties for the first time in two years filled with political turmoil. According to electoral surveys, his party ‘Likud’ and its allies may have to settle for less than a majority.
Leader of the opposition party, Yair Lapid, contested last year with the support of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, but withdrew after the agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz on the power partnership. This time he has campaigned claiming to defeat Netanyahu. Lapid’s party has been projected to come second in the surveys.
Former Education Minister Gideon Saar was once considered the successor of Netanyahu but has split from the ruling party and formed a new party ‘A New Hope’ in collaboration with former Likud Party leaders. Saar’s party has presented itself as a nationalist party free of corruption. According to surveys, ‘A New Hope’ is not expected to get results as per its ambition.
Netanyahu’s former aide and now anti-Naphtali Bennett can play the role of ‘kingmaker’ after the election results are out. Bennett, a nationalist leader and former education and defense minister in Netanyahu’s government, has not completely ruled out joining the coalition. But if Netanyahu’s opponents form a government, he can also support them.
Netanyahu’s fate in the hands of small parties
According to election forecasts, this time the fate of Prime Minister Netanyahu will depend on the performance of smaller parties. He will also have to rely on the former ally, who criticized him, though he did not refuse to join the coalition. According to forecasts, Netanyahu’s Likud party can win 30 seats in the 120-member parliament and is expected to win just 50 seats with coalition partners.
On the other hand, ideologically distinct parties who want to remove Netanyahu from the post, they can get 56-60 seats in total, which is just less than the majority. The largest anti-Netanyahu party, the Yesh Atid Party, can win 20 seats. However, Netanyahu’s former ally Nafatali Bennett’s Yamina party may play the role of kingmaker. This party is expected to win ten seats and has not ruled out joining any alliance. There are other teams which can prove to be important.
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