Day of Reckoning – Billions of Shekels worth of legislation rammed through Knesset in free for all; Olmert leaves seat of Government Knesset chamber mid session, powerless as coalition discipline evaporates; Declares upcoming resignation on Televised Address.
Beset by corruption charges, helming a coalition that has become a sad joke and which is composed of self serving jackals, the day of reckoning has arrived. Our Prime Minister has reclused himself from upcoming primaries in his party this september, and declared his resignation as soon as a new party leader is chosen through that primary system.
Now, in the running for Kadima Foreign Minister Livni, and former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Each will try to seize the leadership of the Kadima party and then the unenviable task of trying to construct a coalition for governing. The likelihood of Livni accomplishing this appears to me slim should she be elected leader of Kadima, as she will be forced to rely on the existing coalition partners and as exhibited today, that partnership is a farce in name only. Insane amounts of social legislation, benefits packages & assorted goodies & gimmes totalling billions were put to votes today in the Knesset despite official coalition positions not in support, what resulted was wide passing of these proposals (some in only initial first reads) and the dissolution of the coalition members from official position, in effect the largest non-confidence vote imaginable.
War & Peace
Olmert himself declared that these measures / packages were directly threatening Israel’s ability to counter & prepare for national security threats, and chided the coalition for government & fiscal irresponsibility. Livni’s ability to build on this cesspool of a coalition will likely be limited, her ability to lure a new national unity government to counter security threats is also questionable, rival Mofaz whom also seeks to keep Kadima in the helm of government without proceeding to national elections by swinging out of the current coalition which is left center, and instead looking towards the right & religious parties to build a new consensus, stands a slightly better chance in my opinion, but it is frankly hard to imagine how either he Livni or Kadima can avoid going to the polls, its Prime Minister resigning, its coalition in tatters, and the government paralyzed by wildly swinging motions of preparing for war, while conceding for peace, with the impossible cloud of every politician looking out for his own interests and securing his own ass / seat hovering overhead.
Where they stand
Livni & Mofaz are in a near tie for Kadima’s leadership in internal party polling, Mofaz having roared back 20% in the last round of polls. Should either grab the Kadima mantle as explained above, that does not assure them victory. They must then also secure a viable coalition under their new leadership or face national elections. On the national scene the left, and Kadima are in perilous position. Kadima looks set to secure perhaps around 10-14 seats, down from near 30. Ehud Barak, Israel’s current defense minister & Labor party leader looks currently in polling able to secure also around 10 or 12 seats, a disastrous position for Israel’s traditional ruling party. Israel’s main right party the Likud under Bibi Netanyahu, which suffered a terrible defeat in the last election looks primed to regain vast swaths of support, vaulting from around the same area of 10-12 seats to the leading poll position of perhaps 30 or more seats if elections were held today. Combined with a stable showing in polls for the Israel Our Home party led by Avigdor Lieberman, the right appears poised to reclaim to seat of power in Israel, if a viable governing coalition cannot be formed. Should elections be staved off, it appears inevitable that the right will be coalition members in a national emergency government, either way the opposition will be in play going forward in my opinion.
Whatever the case may be, there is a need to come to decisions – Coalition, elections, what have you. Israel needs an effective government and it needs one soon, for a year now the government has been in name only, incapable of making decisions, vacillating and without authority to pursue peace, or defense.