Thursday, March 30, 2006

Because of the votes of soldiers, Kadima & Meretz gain a seat each giving Olmert the ability to create a 61 MK 4 party coalition (Kadima, Labor, Pensioners, Meretz).

This coalition will be stable as long as Kadima marches to Labor's tune. Meretz can't stay in the government if Labor leaves, so Labor effectively controls 25 MKs out of the stable core of the 61 MKs in the likely coalition.

If Labor at some point believes that it has a chance to win an election and form a government it can force elections.

So I guess the question now is how long this will take.

Another interesting thing is to watch what happens on the Israeli right. There are 4 [relatively] small parties - Likud, Israel Beitenu, NRP and National Union. Together they control some 32 seats. Some mergers seem likely. If Kadima ever crumbles (possible), the right might be able to form a government. (32 + Shas + UTJ = 50 + Pensioners + 4 renegade [former Likud] Kadima MKs = majority.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This is a really shitty distribution of seats for Kadima.

Kadima - 28
Labor - 20
Pensioners - 7
Meretz - 4

UTJ - 6
Arabs - 10

Shas - 13
Likud - 11
Israel Beitenu - 12
National Union - 9

So, in order to have a majority Kadima either needs a 4 party coalition - 61 seats (Kadima, Labor, Pensioners, UTJ)
Or bring in Shas - 61 seats (Kadima, Labor, Shas)

Note Shas leader Rav Ovadia Yosef decreed against unilateral withdrawals, so this would probably kill Olmert's plans.

Kadima only has 8 seats more than Labor meaning that any coalition will be almost one of equals, which is something that doesn't usually lead to stability in Israeli politics.

Kadima itself is very weak with numerous ideological groupings coming together for the sole purpose of winning the elections. It will be hard to keep all of them satisfied when so much negotiations with small parties will be required in order to form a government. In the future when the topic of conversation will be further withdrawals in the West Bank it will be even harder to keep all of Kadima supporting the party.

The only bright spot is that Shas, UTJ and the Pensioners are desperate to be a part of the next government. Lieberman also promised to be in the next government, and Netanyahu will probably get bored being the leader of the 5th largest party and will either leave the country or try to join the government. If Netanyahu stops being the leader of the Likud, there is little stopping that party from joining any coalition and effectively folding into Kadima.

I don't believe this government can stay in power for very long and wouldn't be surprised to see new elections within 2 years.

Something is rotten with these exit polls. This 'pensioners party' has 6-8 seats? Thats 150,000-200,000 votes. I'll wait for the real results.

If the exit polls are correct then I am extremely surprised by the results shown by the Labor party. They won 20-22 seats. Considering they must have lost a bunch of seats to the 'pensioners' this demonstrates some major strength within that party and means that some people younger than 50 are actually voting for Labor. For a while the Labor party's voters kept getting older and I believe the statistics for the last election (2003) showed that under the age of 30 or so only 1.5% of the people voted for Labor.

This pensioners party is very surprising as well. Completely out of left field. I am still trying to figure out where these people came from... Probably mostly former Labor voters. Maybe also some former Shinui voters (though this is less likely since Shinui was very very right-wing on economics).

One thing that is clear is that if Sharon was still in control of Kadima they would have taken 40+ seats easily. Of the 12-14 that went to Israel Beitenu half would have voted for Sharon. Probably most of the 'pensioners' voters would have also gone for Sharon. And a few extra seats would have come from Labor and the Arabs.

In any case Kadima and Labor will now start arguing over ministerial positions within the next government... It will be interesting to see how fast the 'pensioners' get co-opted into the next government. Kadima/Labor/Pensioners/UTJ would probably be a very stable government. Kadima also has a bunch of other coalition options available to it.

I am following the Israeli elections. These are going to be some weird results. The Russian party - Israel Beitenu - might surpass the Likud as the 3rd largest party in Israel. This is especially true if the voting doesn't pick up within the 1 hour or so that is left. It looks to me like the predictions and polls that were done before the election are going to be proven useless.

With low voting, organization becomes more important. Kadima, Labor, Likud and Meretz have shitty organizational abilities. Shas, Israel Beitenu, UTJ and National Union are very well organized. Israel Beitenu will fill up buses with old Russian people and drive them to the voting places. The rabbis of Shas & UTJ will instruct every person capable of voting for these parties to go to the polls. National Union is a settler / settler supporter party.. Very well organized and energized following the Gaza withdrawal...

And now for something completely out of my ass:

Kadima gets 33
Labor gets 17
Israel Beitenu gets 14
Likud gets 13
Shas gets 12
National Union gets 9
UTJ gets 7
Meretz gets 6
The Arab parties get 7 combined
The Pensioners party gets 2.

Lets see how close I get.. Note that Kadima will form the next government - Kadima, Labor, Shas or Kadima, Labor, Meretz, UTJ

Sunday, March 12, 2006

If what is happening in Iraq is not a civil war, I think we need to define what a civil war is... We can add this to the list of terms whose meaning is being disputed by the US government.

The bomb that blew up in Sadr city killing 50 or so people is bad, its really bad... Sadr city is home base of the Mahdi army, led by Muqtada al-Sadr. Surprisingly this guy and his militia have become one of the few elements within Iraq who still want to see a unified Iraq.

There will be retaliation and counter-retaliation... Ever since the Samarra bombing the speed down the slippery slope to civil war has been increasing....

Monday, March 06, 2006

Interesting period in Palestine.

The first step taken by the Hamas dominated Palestinian parliament was to rescind the measures taken by the previous Fatah dominated parliament in its last session. Fatah was trying to transfer as many powers to Abbas as possible prior to the handover to Hamas. The idea was that Abbas keeps control over the security forces, the appointment of judges and many other powers, leaving the Hamas with a platform for talking but nothing more.....

So now the question is what Abbas/Fatah will do. Will they accept the loss of these powers or will there be a showdown. In any showdown Hamas loses. Parliament can get disbanded, and any protests can be put down by military force. The question is whether Abbas and Fatah are ready to go to the brink, because if not then they should prepare their Paris retirement apartments...