2009 Israeli legislative election
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government. Had Olmert remained in office or had Livni formed a coalition government, the elections would have been scheduled for 2010 instead.
Although the incumbent prime minister's party, Kadima, won the most seats in the parliament, the Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was able to form a majority coalition government and become the new prime minister.
On 17 September 2008, Kadima held a leadership election, which was won by Tzipi Livni. Following Livni's victory, former party leader Ehud Olmert (who did not run in the contest) resigned as Prime Minister. Livni was given six weeks to form a coalition, but set a deadline of 26 October for parties to agree to join the new government.
Although the Labor Party agreed to join, current coalition member Shas rejected the opportunity; Livni claimed that it had made "economically and diplomatically illegitimate" demands (including a reluctance to increase child benefits, and rejection of the possible division of Jerusalem in a deal with the Palestinians). It was reported that Shas had rejected almost one billion shekels in child allowances offered to it as part of the coalition negotiations. Gil and United Torah Judaism had both rejected offers to join, while negotiations with Meretz-Yachad were still ongoing. On 26 October, Livni recommended to President Shimon Peres that early elections be held.
President Peres had three days to consult on the recommendation, after which there was a period of three weeks in which other Knesset members could have offered to form an alternative coalition, but no such alternative was brought.
The election would have to be held within 90 days after the end of that period. Although Kadima submitted a bill to the Knesset on 27 October to call early elections and bypass the three-week period, Peres' announcement to the Knesset that there was no chance of forming a government meant that the full waiting period stood. Ehud Olmert was to remain the caretaker Prime Minister until a new government was formed after the elections.
The traditional distinction between the Israeli left and the right had become blurred, with both the voters and the main candidates gravitating toward the center. Israelis, who had always been highly politicized, were switching affiliations more easily. On the Palestinian front, stark differences among the parties still remained. Kadima was committed to continuing talks for a two-state solution. Labor did not believe that bilateral Israeli–Palestinian negotiations could succeed under the current circumstances, and advocated a more comprehensive, regional approach to peace. Likud said it would promote an "economic peace" with the Palestinians and also hold political negotiations, although it was not clear about what.
Elections to the Knesset allocate 120 seats by party-list proportional representation, using the D'Hondt method. The election threshold for the 2006 election was set at 2% (up from 1.5% in previous elections), which is a little over two seats.
After official results are published, the President delegates the task of forming a government to the member of Knesset with the best chance of assembling a majority coalition (usually the leader of the largest party, but not required). That member has up to 42 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his or her government to the Knesset for a vote of confidence. Once the government is approved (by a vote of at least 61 members), he or she becomes Prime Minister.
By 23 December 2008, a record 43 parties had registered with the parties registrar, compared to 31 for the 2006 elections, although in the end, only 34 parties submitted a list of candidates, and only 33 ran on election day. On 12 January 2009, Balad and the United Arab List–Ta'al alliance were disqualified by the Central Elections Committee on the grounds that they failed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and called for armed conflict against it. Balad and Ta'al were also disqualified from the 2003 election, but won a Supreme Court case which allowed them to run. On 21 January 2009, the Supreme Court again revoked the ban.
Meretz and Tnu'a HaHadasha, a new movement of left-wing activists led by Tzali Reshef, ran a joint list, with Tnua'a HaHadasha representatives getting third, seventh, and eleventh spots on the alliance's list.
The religious Zionist Ahi party, previously part of the National Union alliance, merged into Likud in late December 2008. Ultra-Orthodox parties Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah agreed to continue their alliance, United Torah Judaism, for the election.
Several political parties had been established since the 2006 elections. The first was Social Justice, founded by billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak in February 2007 (which in the end did not run in the election), and Yisrael Hazaka was established by the former Labor member of the Knesset, Efraim Sneh, in May 2008.
After the announcement of elections in late October 2008, the Tkuma and Moledet factions of the National Union and the National Religious Party merged into a single party in early November 2008, which was later named The Jewish Home. However, the National Union was re-established after the Moledet and Tkuma factions broke away from the party and agreed to an alliance with Hatikva headed by Aryeh Eldad and Eretz Yisrael Shelanu (Our Land of Israel) headed by Rabbi Sholom Dov Wolpo and Baruch Marzel.
|Kadima||Labor Party||Shas||Likud||Yisrael Beiteinu||Jewish Home||National Union||Gil||United Torah Judaism||Meretz||United Arab List–Ta'al||Hadash||Balad||The Greens|
|Kadima||Labor Party||Shas||Likud||Yisrael Beiteinu||Jewish Home||National Union||Gil||United Torah Judaism||Meretz||United Arab List–Ta'al||Hadash||Balad||The Greens|
The Knesset Board of Elections released the official result:
|Party||Votes||% Votes||Seats||+/–||% Seats|
|United Torah Judaism||147,954||4.39%||5||–1||4.17%|
|United Arab List–Ta'al||113,954||3.38%||4||—||3.33%|
|The Jewish Home||96,765||2.87%||3||[B]||2.50%|
|The Green Movement–Meimad||27,737||0.82%||—||–1||—|
|Da'am Workers Party||2,645||0.08%||—||—||—|
|Holocaust Survivors and Ale Yarok Alumni||2,346||0.07%||—||—||—|
|Man's Rights in the Family Party||921||0.03%||—||—||—|
|Invalid or blank votes||43,097||1.26%|
|Source: Knesset Board of Elections|
- A The four parties making up National Union had six seats in the previous elections in the combined National Union−National Religious Party slate. The Ahi party (2 seats) left the National Union and joined the Likud.
- B The Jewish Home (formerly the National Religious Party) had three seats in the combined National Union−National Religious Party slate. The two parties together won 7 seats in this election for a net loss of 2.
On 20 February, President Shimon Peres announced that Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu would be given the task of forming a government. This is the first time in which the president had not appointed the head of the largest party for this task, although there had already been several cases in which the Prime Minister was not the head of the largest party. Such a case occurred in the 1996 elections, when Netanyahu himself was elected Prime Minister by direct vote, although his Likud party won fewer seats than Shimon Peres's Labor party. Peres's motivation in nominating Netanyahu was likely based upon the judgement that Netanyahu was in a better position numerically to put together a coalition. Likud's potential partners on the political right won more seats than the parties of the centre-left, who would more likely support Kadima.
Labor and Kadima initially stated they would not join a Likud-led government, although both parties scheduled further talks. Polls at the time showed that the public supported a national unity government between Likud and Kadima, with either Yisrael Beiteinu or Labor as the third senior coalition member.
On 16 March 2009, Netanyahu signed a coalition agreement with Yisrael Beitenu. Following an extension of the coalition negotiation deadline from 20 March to 3 April 2009, he then signed a coalition agreement with Shas on 22 March 2009, and on 24 March 2009, he secured the support of the Labor Party, with Labor's central committee approving the deal by 680 votes to 507. However, large parts of the party remained sceptical, accusing Ehud Barak of only being interested in his own benefits under the deal. On 25 March, the Jewish Home also joined the coalition.
On 30 March, in accordance with the Israeli Basic Law, Netanyahu informed Peres and acting Knesset speaker, Michael Eitan, that he was able to form a government and the Knesset was set to convene on 31 March 2009, in order to vote on the government in a "Vote of Confidence" and to be sworn in thereafter. The country's 32nd government was approved that day by a majority of 69 lawmakers, with United Torah Judaism joining the following day, expanding the coalition to 74 MKs.
Unity Government 2012
On 27 March 2012, the Opposition party Kadima called for leadership primaries, pitting its leader Tzipi Livni against Shaul Mofaz. Mofaz won with 62% of the vote. Livni resigned from the Knesset in May 2012.
On the eve of 7 May 2012, after weeks of deliberation and rumours, Netanyahu called for an early general national election and proposed 4 September as the election day, a notion which seemed inevitable—but in a dramatic turn of events, that very night, he announced that he had forged a unity government with the Kadima Party, effectively retracting the earlier call for early elections. The next afternoon, Likud and Kadima signed a coalition agreement placing Kadima's 28 Knesset members in the government, with Mofaz appointed as Active Vice Premier (in case of Netanyahu's absence) and Minister Without Portfolio. This agreement bolstered the government to the widest government in Israel's history, with a coalition of 94 seats and an opposition of only 26. However, on 17 July, Kadima voted to pull out of the coalition—which, all the same, retained a majority of seats even without that party. The reduced coalition was now divided between nationalist groups, such as Yisrael Beiteinu, and Haredi groups, such as Shas, which are on opposite sides of the universal draft issue. This led some commentators to suggest that the coalition's complete break-up was imminent, and that new elections would take place by January 2013.
- Mazal Mualem (30 October 2008). "Israel sets Feburary [sic] 10 as date for general elections". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Q&A: Israeli elections". BBC News. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "General election looms for Israel". BBC News. 26 October 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Shelly Paz (23 October 2008). "Livni: We've made final offer to Shas". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Livni: I won't sell Israel's future for the prime minister's seat". Haaretz. 26 October 2008. Archived from the original on 28 October 2008.
- "Peres sets Israel polls in train". BBC News. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Kershner, Isabel (7 February 2009). "Indecision Reigns as Israelis Get Ready to Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "A look at top PM candidates in Israel's election". Fox News. Associated Press. 7 February 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Shelly Paz (23 December 2008). "Record 43 parties are tentatively registered for February's election". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- Miskin, Maayana (30 December 2008). "34 Parties Make Knesset Bid". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Glickman, Aviad (12 January 2009). "Arab parties disqualified from elections". Ynetnews. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Poll ban on Arab Israelis lifted". BBC News. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Supreme Court revokes ban on Arab parties from national elections". Haaretz. 26 January 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Ehud Zion Waldoks (18 December 2008). "Green Movement, Meimad run together". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Shelly Paz (18 December 2008). "Hatnua Hahadasha, Meretz work on combined list". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Roffe-Ofir, Sharon (18 December 2008). "Hadash merges with anti-fence movement". Ynetnews. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Gil Hoffman (29 December 2008). "Likud, Eitam's party sign agreement to run together". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Mathew Wagner (29 December 2008). "UTJ decides to run again as unified party". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Koutsoukis, Jason (18 November 2008). "Israeli Left Tries a New Party". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Weiss, Efrat (15 December 2008). "Marzel, Rabbi Wolpo to run for Knesset". Ynetnews. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Matthew Wagner (29 December 2009). "Arutz 7 head to chair NU; Habayit Hayehudi reshuffles list". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Abe Selig (18 December 2009). "Moledet breaks from newly formed Bayit Hayehudi". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- Roffe-Ofir, Sharon (3 December 2008). "MK Zkoor launches new Arab party". Ynetnews. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "The party lists for Feb. 10". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Kadima beats Likud in new poll". Ynetnews. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (27 October 2008). "Polls: Next Coalition Will Need Nationalist and Religious MKs". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Tie between the right and the left". Israel HaYom. 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Likud is Opening a Gap". Israel HaYom. 13 November 2009. Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Lerner, Aaron (20 November 2008). "3 polls Likud 32-34, Kadima 23-28, Labor 8-10". Independent Media Review Analysis. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Polls show Likud heading to victory in elections". The Jerusalem Post. 20 November 2008. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Support for Likud Soars Before Israeli Ballot". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- סקר מעריב וטלסקר: שוויון בין קדימה לליכוד [Ma'ariv and TeleSeker poll: equality between Likud and Kadima]. Maariv (in Hebrew). 19 December 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Yossi Verter (25 December 2008). סקר "הארץ": הליכוד איבד 6 מנדטים בתוך שבועיים [Haaretz survey: Likud lost six seats in two weeks]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Yehudah Lev Kay (1 January 2009). "Gaza Operation Boosts Labor, Barak in Latest Poll". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Archived copy" סקר "הכל דיבורים" [Survey 'All Talk'] (PDF) (in Hebrew). Kol Yisrael. 9 February 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- סקר: קדימה הולכת אחורה, נתניהו מגדיל את הפער [Poll: Kadima going back, Netanyahu increases the gap] (in Hebrew). Channel 2. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- סקר "הארץ": אביגדור ליברמן עוקף את העבודה. Haaretz (in Hebrew). 29 January 2009. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- שבוע לבחירות: ישראל ביתנו מתחזקת על חשבון הליכוד. Haaretz (in Hebrew). 3 February 2009. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- סקר: הפער בין הליכוד לקדימה מצטמצם. Haaretz (in Hebrew). 4 February 2009. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- סקר חברת "שווקים פנורמה": נתניהו מוביל עם 25 מנדטים לבני מאחור עם 21. Haaretz (in Hebrew). 5 February 2009. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- סקר ערוץ הכנסת: בנימין נתניהו והליכוד בצניחה חופשית. Haaretz (in Hebrew). 5 February 2009. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- "Likud, Kadima in head-to-head race". Ynetnews. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Mazal Mualem; Yossi Verter (6 February 2009). סקר "הארץ": קרב צמוד בין ציפי לבני לבנימין נתניהו [Haaretz Survey: tight race between Livni and Benjamin Netanyahu]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- תוצאות סופיות לא רשמיות (in Hebrew). Knesset Board of Elections. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- Amy Teibel (20 February 2009). "Netanyahu urges moderates to join broad government". Fox News. Associated Press. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Barak: Israel's Labor party heading to opposition". People's Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Labour unlikely to join Netanyahu govt: minister". The Free Library. Agence France-Presse. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Israel's Livni, Netanyahu agree to more coalition talks". People's Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- "Poll: Israeli public in favor of unity gov't". People's Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
- Jonathan Ferziger (16 March 2009). "Likud, Yisrael Beitenu Reach Tentative Coalition Pact". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Yair Ettinger; Shahar Ilan (24 March 2009). "Shas-Likud coalition deal includes record funding for yeshivas, boosts child allowances". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Israel's Labor votes to join Netanyahu government". Associated Press. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Ehud Barak agrees to join coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu". The Times. 25 March 2009.(subscription required)
- Marcy Oster (25 March 2009). "HaBayit HaYehuda to join Likud government". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Basic Law: the Government (2001)". The Knesset. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 13(b): "Where the Knesset Member has formed a Government, he shall notify the President of the State and the Speaker of the Knesset to such effect, and the Speaker of the Knesset shall notify the Knesset and set a date for the presentation of the Government to the Knesset within seven days of such notification."
- "Netanyahu government to be sworn in on March 31". Times of India. Archived from the original on 2 April 2009.
- "ynet הכנסת אישרה: ממשלת נתניהו יצאה לדרך - חדשות היום". Ynet.co.il. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- "Israel's ruling coalition expands with another right-wing party". Xinhua. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Livni moves up Kadima primary elections to March 27". ynetnews.com. Yediot Aharonot. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- "Tzipi Livni resigns as member of Israeli parliament". BBC News. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Likud primary results: Netanyahu 77%, Feiglin 23%". Israel Hayom. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- "Netanyahu: Unity government will restore stability". ynetnews.com. Yediot Aharonot. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- Karl Vick (17 July 2012). "Kadima's Departure Leaves Netanyahu's Coalition at Odds with Itself". Time. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Knesset site with official results (in Hebrew)
- Elections in Israel - February 2009 from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Where they stand: Israeli election 2009
- Israel's Elections: Making a Hard Right By TIM MCGIRK, Time Feb. 08, 2009