Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Coalition Q/A

A reader named Lubos asked me an excellent question.

"How can 29 be a majority in 29+22+11+14=76. Is not 29 less than one half of 76?"
-Best, Lubos

Well, here's your answer, Lubos.

In the Knesset there are a total of 120 seats. In order to have a majority, therefore, simple math tells us that 61 seats are required. However, since Israel was formed in 1948 there has never been a single party that's been able to achieve the 61 vote threshold on their own, so this means the government must be formed by coalitions of parties.

Since Kadima took the most seats according to the early exit polls they would be entitled to form a coalition of parties that will add up to at least 61 seats.

Therefore, if you take Kadima's predicted 29 seats, Labor's 22, Meretz's (another leftwing party)6, and the Arab party's 5 you get a 62 seat majority.

In all likelihood, however, the Yisroel Beitenu Party, which scored a surprisingly strong 14 seats, will also join Kadima's coalition, too, and a government of about 76 members would then be formed.

Now, if Likud fires Bibi for leading such a disasterous election for Likud, then the second in command, Silvain Shalom, will probably look to align with Kadima as well, which would then give the coalition a huge 85 seats from which to govern.

Then, the Shas and UTJ Parties, or the Ultra-Orthodox parties if you will, may very well seek to join the Kadima coalition, too. Shas carries about 11 seats while UTJ will have about 6 so that adds roughly 17 more to the government, giving Ohlmert a mandate of a whopping 103 out of 120 total seats.

Now, let's say the Retirement Party, which stunned the forecasters by winning about 8 seats wants to join with Ohlmert, which is very likely. Now you have 111 out of 120 seats going to Ohlmert.

What's left? Well, only National Union/NRP with about 9 seats as a real opposition, which could make for the smallest ever opposition government in Israel's history!

Of course, the NU/NRP happens to be the only party which opposes expelling the Jews from Judea/Samaria (the West Bank) and giving it away to the moslems. Thus, with such paltry Knesset opposition to represent them, the Jews outside the Green Line better get packed soon because, sadly, they are as good as gone.


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