Forming a Broken Government or Holding Fifth Elections?

On Wednesday at night, Yair Lapid's given time for forming the government ends. Lapid's task is neither easy nor guaranteed, because until the very last minute anything could happen within such broken and ideologically-diverse coalition.

Yamina, headed by Naftali Bennett and his partner Ayelet Shaked, forced itself in this electoral round and coalition talks. The party proved its ability to ruin talks and attempts of forming the government for both Netanyahu and the change blocs. The party followed an opportunist method, jumping from one offer to another trying to maximize the gains including the possibility of heading the government despite the small number of won seats.

The remaining components of the change bloc coalition seem less threatening to the government Lapid and Bennett plan to form. The leaders of the coalition are focusing on the bigger prize which is toppling Netanyahu and pushing him out of the rule, whether as an actual Prime Minister or an operative one.

The coalition leaders made great concessions to fulfill the ambitions of Yamina party in order to remove Netanyahu. Yair Lapid, with the highest number of seats after the Likud, gave up his ambition for heading the government to allow Bennett's assignment as so. The Yamina party did not stop there. Ayelet Shaked threatened to ruin the coalition talks should she not have a place in the Judicial Appointments Committee which delayed the formation of the government.

Until the very end, Netanyahu is still trying to thwart his rivals' bloc. He is known for being able to stall and then surprise everyone with something that makes political observers admit the difficulty of removing Netanyahu without unanimity and agreement on a replacement since nothing is guaranteed when Netanyahu's wit and cunningness are at play. 

Netanyahu has been trying to influence the members inside the change bloc into turning against their parties and leaders in exchange for some promises he has been making them. He has also been trying to find legal loopholes to prevent Bennett's assignment as head of the government in light of Lapid's assignment by Reuven Rivlin.

Insight of the Situation

  1. The occupation's political arena is unstable despite the approach of Lapid's deadline for forming the government considering the disparity in the coalition's ambitions. 
  2. Parties with small number of seats are taking advantage of the situation in order to make huge gains that do not match its actual size.
  3. The change bloc leaders are trying to conclude agreements with Yamina leaders in order to achieve the main goal of toppling Netanyahu, and expressed their willingness to make concessions to make it happen.
  4. Benjamin Netanyahu is still working on affecting his rivals and breaking the bloc before the legal duration given to them ends. He is using racist and inciting speeches as a tool.
  5. The Israeli parties' positions are fluctuating, and the ambitions are conflicting. Even if a government is formed, it would be vulnerable and broken, warning of a possible collapse at any time.

Possible Scenarios:

  1. A new Israeli government led by the change bloc is formed: The rotation government would be formed with Bennett as its head first and Lapid second. The change bloc leaders are determined to remove Netanyahu and are willing to answer to the ambitions of Yamina to do so. However, if this government is formed, it will be broken and vulnerable considering the disparity inside and absence of joint objectives and one methodology. 
  2. Coalition talks fail: The change government fails and is incapable of achieving united ambitions between the change camp leaders and Yamina leaders. This is supported by the Yamina's attempts to achieve great victories until the very last hours. This scenario would result in fifth elections.

Based on the abovementioned, everything is possible. However, the first scenario is more likely to happen considering how the change leaders want to remove Netanyahu and are willing to answer to Yamina party which may be satisfied with what it was promised since such gains might not be made otherwise.


Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre