Israel votes: basic informations that you need to know for today’s election in Israel

Israel:

Government type: parliamentary democracy.

Constitutionno formal constitution; some functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws of the Parliament (Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law (2013).

Executive branch: chief of state: President Reuven RIVLIN (since 2014), head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 2009), cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset.

Legislative branch: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; political parties are elected by popular vote and assigned seats for members on a proportional basis; members serve 4-year terms)

Elections:

TODAY, 17 March 2015 – Election Day. Polling stations will be open from 7:00 to 22:00.

Snap election was called in December 2014 because of internal problems within the government coalition led by PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud, centre-right).

According to the last polls, out of 120 seats, the next Knesset could look like this (FT):

  • Zionist Union (centre left): 26 seats
  • Likud (right wing): 22 seats
  • Joint List (Arab Minority): 13 seats
  • Jewish Home (right wing, pro settlers): 12 seats
  • Yesh Atid (Secular, centrist): 12 seats
  • Kulanu (Secular, centrist): 12 seats
  • Shas (Orthodox, Sephardic): 7 seats
  • UTJ (Orthodox, Askenazi): 6 seats
  • Yisrael Beiteinu (right wing nationalist): 6 seats
  • Meretz (left wing): 5 seats
  • Yahad (Orthodox, extreme right): 3 seats

israeli elections

Key players:

The Zionist Union (centre left): the party fusing Israel’s once-dominant Labour party with the centrist HaTnuah led by Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former chief peace negotiator with the Palestinians. (AFP) It is led by Isaac Herzog, Labour politicians and leader of the opposition. Should they form the next government, the parties have agreed on a two-year rotation for the premiership, with Herzog taking the first tenure.

Likud (Right wing): it is the ruling party since 2009. It was the first right-leaning party to lead the Israeli government. It is currently headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli special forces commando, diplomat and politician. He is currently the 17thPrime Minister of Israel.

Joint List: newly formed alliance of Israel’s main Arab parties.

All the other parties will play a crucial role to form the next coalition. But since the very complicated Israeli electoral system is very difficult to make any predictions on the outcome.

Main topics:

The most debated topic has been the development of the Peace Process. Traditionally, the centre right parties are very prudent to give any concession to the Palestinians (Netanyahu says he will not permit a Palestinian state under his watch if re-elected, Reuters) while centre left parties are open to start negotiations for a “Two States Solutions“.

Also the difficult economic situations and the high cost of living have been on the top of the electoral debates.