Last week I discussed the main players and parties in Israel’s 2015 elections. You can read that post here.
So what’s happened in the last week?
The breakup in Shas
The big story of the week is the breakup between Arieh Deri and Eli Yishay in Shas. Yishay has left the party and founded a new party, along with Yoni Chetboun of the Jewish Home party. The split-up has brought both halves of Shas to 4 seats each in the polls, just passing the 3.25% threshold.
Everyone is running in the Jewish Home
Meanwhile, a never ending string of people have been announcing their candidacy in the Jewish Home primary elections. The party opened its ranks and is allowing anyone to join and vote in the primaries, as long as they do so by December 29th. Candidates must sign up on January 6-7th. Currently there are at least 39 candidates competing for the 15-16 seats that are predicted for the party. Of the 39, 12 are women- the highest number of women competing in any party. One of them is a good friend of mine, Chagit Gibor, who is championing the rights of women and young couples. In comparison, Labor-Hatnua has 11 women competing in the primary elections and Likud has only 4.
Jewish Home’s primary elections will be on January 14th.
Will “National Unity” leave the Jewish Home?
The 39 candidates do not include the members of the “National Unity” party which joined with the Jewish Home before the last elections. “National Unity” are further right than most of the Jewish Home and are considering running together with Eli Yishay’s new party. Uri Ariel, the leader of “National Unity” and current Minister of Housing, is expected to make his decision tonight. If Ariel decides to run with Yishay’s Ultra-Orthodox party, Orit Struk, the only woman in “National Unity” has been asked to step down in order to make the merger ‘acceptable’ to their new Ultra-Orthodox partners, who do not want women in politics.
So far, even if “National Unity” leaves the Jewish Home, the latter does not suffer in the polls.
Labor’s list of candidates is closed
The Labor party has closed their list of candidates for the primary elections which will be held on January 13th, 2015. However, the encouraging polls did not bring along a frenzy to present candidacy as they did in the Jewish Home. Only 36 people are running in the primary elections. Of the 20 or so seats which the party is expected to get in the general elections, at least 4 will be reserved for Tzipi Livni and her band of political bed-hoppers from her party “Hatnua” and one will be reserved for Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, leaving room for only 15 or so other candidates, the same number of seats that Labor has now.
Likud- a relatively quiet primary election
Likud’s list of candidates will be closed tomorrow, December 21st. So far, there has been very little news of any new candidates, as the party is not expected to grow substantially after the general elections. Likud’s primary elections are scheduled for January 31st.
Meanwhile, the party’s leadership will remain firmly in the hands of Netanyahu, after Moshe Feiglin, the only candidate who even remotely threatens Netanyahu’s position said he would not run for party leader, after Netanyahu succeeded in merging both votes into one day. According to Feiglin, competing on “two fronts” would have been impossible for him.
Meretz- unprepared for Primary elections
After scouring the website of Meretz, I was able to find the last date for candidates to sign up- December 25th, but was unable to find the date of the primary elections. Apparently, the party hasn’t found the time to update their website. The elections in Meretz are not open to the entire 13,000 members, but rather to an electorate of 1000. One new candidate that I know of, is Gabi Laski, who was head of the extreme left “Peace Now” movement.
Kulanu- Kahlon still hasn’t announced his list
So far, Moshe Kahlon has not announced who will be running in his new party, “Kulanu”. Over the past week, a long list of candidates were rumored to be running in Kahlon’s party, only to deny their candidacy later.
More updates to follow, either here or on my Facebook page. You can see current posts on my FB page in the righthand panel on this page.
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