Yes, Shelly, we know

A few days ago, Ynet carried a story under the headline:

Yachimovich to run for prime minister

This “news” item was in response to an “announcement” by Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich of “her intention to run for prime minister against incumbent leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming election.”

This is hardly big news. When you are the leader of a party in a parliamentary system you are generally presumed to be said party’s candidate to be prime minister. So we did not learn anything new by this announcement–which makes it seem as if the PM is elected directly, like a president. Which, you may know, Israel tried for a little while, but it was such a disaster that they went back to standard parliamentarism over a decade ago.

So, while we have known since Yachimovich won the leadership contest of one of Israel’s four largest parties that she was thereby a candidate for the top executive post, it is much more difficult to see how she can become prime minister than it is to recognize her intentions. The dynamics of the post-election coalition situation are unlikely to favor Labor.

A parliamentary election is not due till late 2013, but there is continuing speculation that it could be called for later this year.

5 thoughts on “Yes, Shelly, we know

  1. One wonders if there is an untapped demographics for a Meretz-like party that would be suitable as a coalition partner with Labor and Kadima — or would such a party be squeezed out in the middle?

    Alternatively, a left religious party. A bit hard to imagine given the religious support for occupation, but isn’t that precisely why the religious argument against occupation needs to be made?

  2. Michel, I am not sure I follow the point you are making. There is a Meretz-like party: Meretz, which is still around, but has been hemorrhaging support for years now, as had Labor.

    Some of the decline for Labor in 2009 was due to Kadima being positioned as the leader of a potential center-left coalition. Yet all the growth of Kadima–all the way to being the largest party–really accomplished was to re-shuffle votes within the center-left.

    As I see it, the only hope for a center-left coalition is that Kadima led by Mofaz somehow would peel away some votes from Likud (or other parties in the current coalition). For now, Labor seems to be growing in the polls at the expense of Kadima, which does not help generate the parliamentary support for a center-left bloc.

    A left-religous party would be interesting, but I doubt there is a constituency for it. The closest such party might be Green Movement-Meimad, which missed the threshold in 2009. I am not sure if it even still exists.

  3. Meimad was on the Labour list before the last election, and indeed fail to launch independently of that established party (but together with the Greens).

  4. Thanks, MSS. That explanation clarifies things — I guess what I’m wondering about (apart from the left-religious question which you’ve already answered) is if the collapse of Meretz’ vote is just due to its political base not being energized enough to turn out in strength, or if they’ve already migrated to other parties of the center-left

    • Michel, I am not expert in these matters, but I think they have tended to migrate to Kadima, at least in 2009. Now they may go to Labor.

      This constituent base is also simply smaller as a share of the electorate than it used to be, given the increased Haredi and XSSR immigrant communities.

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