Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Israel Elections Seen as Rebuke to Netanyahu

I was busy yesterday and thus had no time to follow the elections to Israel's Knesset.

Israel Matzav was live blogging and has continuing updates.

And at the Los Angeles Times, "Israel elections deal a major setback to Netanyahu":
JERUSALEM — Israeli voters dealt a stunning political rebuke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaving parliamentary elections in a virtual tie between the right and center-left and denying him the mandate he sought to pursue hawkish policies toward Palestinian peace talks, Iran's nuclear program and construction of West Bank settlements.

Netanyahu was still regarded as the most likely candidate to form a new government after Tuesday's voting because there are few other credible figures. But the disappointing performance will require him to reach out to the center in order to form a governing coalition.

With all but votes from prisoners, military voters and some government workers counted early Wednesday, Israel's conservative and religious parties had won 60 seats in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, the same number won by centrist and left-wing parties, who were led by a surprisingly strong performance from a political newcomer, Yair Lapid.

Though the final tally could change slightly, the close race all but ensures a period of turmoil before a new government emerges, and catapults Lapid and his recently formed centrist party, Yesh Atid ("There Is a Future"), into the forefront of Israeli politics. The party formed by the charismatic former TV broadcaster won 19 seats, the second-highest number of any party.

Amid a stronger-than-expected voter turnout of 67% — up from 65% in 2009 — the conservative bloc fell five seats short of the 65 seats it amassed four years ago, while the center-left parties picked up five.
More at that top link.

And at the New York Times, "Tepid Vote for Netanyahu in Israel Is Seen as Rebuke" (via Memeorandum).