Israel’s Election Results for Prime Minister6 min read

In Israel on September 18, 2019, the election results between current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and challenger Benny Gantz reached an inconclusive deadlock. This election marks the second election for Prime Minister in Israel and indicates the inability for either leader to gain a majority of support.[1]

Initially, the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin tasked the two men with creating a unified government in which both leaders will maintain power.[2]President Rivlin concluded that the nearly split votes amongst the populous indicated that the people want a government that includes both Netanyahu and Gantz playing a chief role. Therefore, President Rivlin contended that together Netanyahu and Gantz could gain a majority coalition in Parliament and form the new government of Israel. Previously, Netanyahu failed to gain a majority coalition, which is what lead to the second election for Prime Minister.[3]

On September 24, Netanyahu and Gantz met to discuss forging a government together. However, the two failed to come up with an agreement, and the future government of Israel still remained in question.[4]The essential issue surrounding the talks is who would first serve as Prime Minister, with the expectation that they would rotate in the position. Another issue is the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu, who has served as Prime Minister for thirteen years, is facing possible indictment in three corruption cases that will be heard in October. Gantz claimed he would not form a government with Prime Minister Netanyahu as long as he is facing possible indictment, which undoubtedly creates a large barrier to unity.[5]In fact, this condition makes it essentially impossible for the two men to work together. President Rivlin stated that he would wait to give his decision on who will receive the mandate to form the government until October 2, 2019. This mandate includes the possibility of both men being granted joint rule.[6]Importantly, the President is required to give a decision by this date.

A day later, on September 25, the final results of the election were tallied and released. The new election results, which amended the initial results due to suspected corruption at six polling stations, showed Netanyahu’s Likud party up thirty-two seats.[7]Nonetheless, Netanyahu’s party is still one seat behind Gantz’s liberal Blue and White party. Also, the election results do not change the number of recommendations each candidate received for Prime Minister: Netanyahu with 55 and Gantz with 54.[8]Thus, the candidates have nearly the exact same amount of support from the people of Israel. 

Given the fact that the negotiation talks to form a unified national government failed, President Rivlin mandated on September 25 for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form the majority coalition.[9]Despite saying he would wait until October 2 to make a formal decision, President Rivlin undoubtedly believed that the meeting between the two parties indicated that they are unable to negotiate at this time.[10]Without question, the choice to pick Netanyahu to form a majority coalition over Gantz is seemingly unjust due to their split support. The ability for the President to choose who will usurp the power of the Prime Minister connects to the themes of electorate size and truly free elections as discussed in class. Nonetheless, President Rivlin’s offer does not guarantee Netanyahu will lead the new administration. In fact, Netanyahu’s party promised that if they fail to form a majority coalition, they will return the mandate to President Rivlin.[11]Notably, if this occurs, the President is unlikely to task Gantz with an opportunity to form the government. Thus, many scholars speculate a third election in Israel will take place later this year and further threaten the stability of the nation’s government.[12]

Overall, the election for Prime Minister in Israel plays a vital role in the future of Israel’s government and relates to themes of corruption and democracy. In the past, Israel had never had more than one election in a year for Prime Minister. Now, the nation could possibly be on a path to three elections. Undoubtedly, this indicates the stark increase in political partisanship and unwillingness to compromise amongst the government, and specifically Parliament. Moreover, it also indicates the extent to which Netanyahu’s thirst for power and corrupt past is hurting the nation as a whole. As of 2019, according to Freedom House, Israel is a free multi-party democracy that promises political rights and civil liberties for most of its citizens.[13]However, I believe this reality is dwindling as the government is overshadowed with internal corruption and gridlock.

  Israel needs to replace Netanyahu in order to restore the integrity of its democratic government and push forward towards a brighter future. I contend that the results of Netanyahu’s hearings regarding the three criminal cases against him have the ability to destroy his chances of forming a majority coalition, and will thus result in the loss of his position as Prime Minister. In the future, it is essential to evaluate the results of the hearings and their effect on Netanyahu’s ability to govern.

Works Cited

“Freedom in the World 2019.” Freedom House. 2019.                                                                                https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2019/israel

Holmes, Oliver. “Israel Talks Ramp up as Final Election Count Tightens Deadlock.” The. Guardian. September 25, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/25/israeli-talks-ramp-up-as-final-election-count-tightens-deadlock.

Lis, Jonathan. “Final Israel Elections Results, Netanyahu Up to 32 Seats, Ultra Orthodox PartyDown One.” Haaretz. September 25, 2019. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-update-netanyahu-s-party-rises-to-32-knesset-seats-reducing-utj-to-seven-1.7899364.

Lis, Jonathan. “Israel Elections Results: President Rivlin Tasks Netanyahu With Forming Government as Unity Talks with Gantz Fail.” Haaretz. September 25, 2019. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-rivlin-tasks-netanyahu-with-forming-government-as-unity-talks-with-gantz-fail-1.7900518.


[1]Oliver Holmes. “Israel Talks Ramp up as Final Election Count Tightens Deadlock.” The Guardian. September 25, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/25/israeli-talks-ramp-up-as-final-election-count-tightens-deadlock.

[2]Id.

[3]Id.

[4]Id.

[5]Jonathan Lis. “Israel Elections Results: President Rivlin Tasks Netanyahu With Forming Government as Unity Talks with Gantz Fail.” Haaretz. September 25, 2019. 

[6]Id.

[7]Jonathan Lis. “Final Israel Elections Results, Netanyahu Up to 32 Seats, Ultra Orthodox Party Down One.” Haaretz. September 25, 2019. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-update-netanyahu-s-party-rises-to-32-knesset-seats-reducing-utj-to-seven-1.7899364.

[8]Id.

[9] Jonathan Lis. “Israel Elections Results: President Rivlin Tasks Netanyahu With Forming Government as Unity Talks with Gantz Fail.” Haaretz. September 25, 2019. 

[10]Id.

[11]Id.

[12]Id.

[13]“Freedom in the World 2019.” Freedom House. 2019. https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2019/israel

1 thought on “Israel’s Election Results for Prime Minister<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">6</span> min read</span>”

  1. This is a very interesting situation to take a look at. It definitely covers many themes we have covered recently. I would agree with the Freedom House’s evaluation of Israel as a democracy, it seems to lean more towards the characteristics of pretty high competition and participation. participation and competition, but like we’ve seen with many countries that are rated as free democracies, they have their fair share of problems. I think the main problem, which you talked about is corruption. With all of the problems that Netanyahu has with these hearings, it makes me wonder why he still has such support or freedom to keep running in the elections the way he is. It’s also really strange how the possibility for President Rivlin to select Netanyahu is at all present. With the support so split, it seems inappropriate to make any decision at all. Why should a prime minister that half of the population not vote for, still be put into office. Overall, this is a very interesting situation happening currently. I’d be excited to see if, moving forward, the criminal case hearings for Netanyahu do end up affecting his run for prime minister.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

css.php