Monday, December 11, 2023

Netanyahu hopes to retain powers in Israel general elections

Israel has politically paralised since the April 2019 general elections when Likud won the most votes but failed to form a ruling coalition. Despite the party’s strong support for Netanyahu, there have been weekly mass demonstrations against him outside his residence in Jerusalem, except during his strict period of detention. Tens of thousands of opponents took part in one of the largest demonstration rally.

Israel’s electoral system has produced a coalition since the country was founded in 1948. Israel votes in the fourth general elections in two years, which will probably be the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s referendum. The last three general elections ended unconditionally. A unity government formed to break the stalemate collapsed in December. The PM also has been in power without interruption since 2009, served the previous three-year term in the late 1990s.

What are expectations about general elections?

They are happening when Israel emerged from the blockade and only two weeks before Netanyahu’s trial resumed. The right-wing Likud party is expected to win the most seats, but it is far from getting the 61 seats to form a government without support from other parties. But analysts say the degree of political difference between them means they are unlikely to form a government even if they win 61 or more seats.

Who is Benjamin Netanyahu?

Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. At the age of 18, he spent five distinguished years in the army as a captain in Sayeret Matkal. After his retirement from military,  he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1988, he participated in practical politics and won seat. He elected Prime Minister for first time in 1996.

What are the problems Mr. Netanyahu facing?

Netanyahu’s opponents accuse him of treating the crisis badly, but the economy has opened up in recent weeks, infection rates have dropped.

After the last elections in March 2020, Israel passed three blockades to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The Prime Minister described Israel’s rapid vaccination program as a major achievement. Israel was one of the worst-hit countries in the world, but more than half of its population has now received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The Prime Minister is also battling charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies the accusations against him, which he believes are politically motivated. Furthermore, opposition parties are arguing that the country has come too late with changes and country’s longest-running leader.

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