Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Israeli Election Results, 99.5 pct counted
With 99.5% of the votes counted Kadima finishes first, but well below pre-election polls and below the exit polls range, at a disappointing 28 mandates. Labor finishes at the low end of exit estimates but slightly above the pre-election polls with 20. Likud has crashed and burned, winning only 11 seats. The religious Shas party surged in the election from pre-election poll estimates to 13 mandates. Meanwhile Israel Our Home fell at the low end of exit estimates to 12 seats, still one above the preelection polls.
The National Union/NRP coalition wins 9 seats, about what the pre-election and exit polls estimated.
Meretz finishes with only 4 mandates, a seat below preelection and exit poll estimates.
The surprise of the night is clearly Gil, the Pensioners party, with 7 mandates. Gil rarely polled even two seats in the pre-election polls.
United Torah Judaism finishes with 6 mandates, about what the polls estimated.
The Arab parties finish with 10 seats divided among three parties. Balad has 3, Hadash has 3 and United Arab List has 4 seats. Despite news accounts of low Arab turnout, this is 2 seats above pre-election polls and 2-3 seats above exit poll estimates.
I'm not clear if surplus votes have been alocated yet. This might make some small difference in the final seat allocation.
A Kadima-left coaltion (Kadima, Labor, Meretz and Gil) would make up 59 votes. If the Arab parties give tacit support, this would be enough. If not, then Kadima needs one more coalition partner. If Kadima wants a more center-right coalition, the inclusion of Israel Our Home would bring the seat total over 60, but require a coalition of strange bedfellows on the left. We'll see.