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The IDF Will Decide Israel’s Election

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Kadima maintains a slim, one-seat lead over Likud, 28 Knesset seats to 27. As usual in Israel, the real vote is a little to the right of the exit polls. However, as one of my commenters noted, this does not take into account the votes of IDF soldiers, who count for about 6 Knesset seats total. My bet is that this will shift things a bit more towards Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu — especially after the Gaza war. For all its tactical successes, the soldiers went in hoping to bring down Hamas and bring back Gilad Shalit, and neither of these happened.

The current tally also doesn’t count the surplus vote agreements: In Israel’s system, each party can cut a deal with another party in advance, such that all the votes beyond their last Knesset seat which were not enough for an additional seat go to another, like-minded party. Likud’s deal is with Yisrael Beitenu: Which means that whichever party is closer to an additional seat will get the surplus votes of the other. Kadima, on the other hand, cut its deal with one of the obscure environmental parties, which didn’t make the threshold of getting into the Knesset — all of those votes are lost.

My prediction is for a tie, with a possible slight edge to Likud.


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