Yesterday, the Likud-Beiteinu Coalition Party won re-election as the leading party in Israel’s 19th Knesset (Congress).
The Likud-Beiteinu win guarantees Benjamin Netanyahu retain the coveted position of Israeli prime minister. This will be Netanyahu’s third-term as prime minister of Israel. He is the first prime minister to serve three terms since David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.
The Likud-Beiteinu win is of course a triumph for Netanyahu, but when you look at the polling data Netanyahu’s coalition just barely won enough seats to maintain power. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu party shrunk from 42 to 31 seats claiming in total 61 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, that’s only a one-seat advantage. This narrow win for Netanyahu will force him to work with opposition parties in order to form a larger coalition government.
In his second term Netanyahu enjoyed one of the largest coalition governments in Israel’s history, making it very easy for him to accomplish his parties goals without much pushback. However, in his third-term he’ll have to work harder to accomplish his parties objectives.
This election revealed how the Israelis felt about their government. Lilach Weissman of Globes wrote,“One outcome that is clear is that about 60 current members of Knesset have lost their seats, which can be seen as a large vote of no confidence by the public in the Knesset.”
Some are saying since Netanyahu will have to pander more to his center-left colleagues who may be more apt to accept a peace plan from President Obama. Peter Beinart of the Daily Beast believes, “… Netanyahu’s weakness also means he’ll be less able to fend Obama off if the White House unveils a peace initiative.”
While many journalists attempt to predict the future on how the 19th Knesset will look and function, the right-leaning Netanyahu remains its prime minister.