Monday, November 21, 2005

Sharon's Party

In order to keep my credentials as a blogger on Middle East issues, I have to comment on Ariel Sharon's decision to start a new party. If Israelis still elected their Prime Ministers directly, I'd say Sharon would win, but have to form a coalition with another partner that would in all likelihood win more seats. As it stands, a lot will depend on how much Israelis sees their party vote as a Prime Minister vote, something I can't guess at given my lack of experience in Parliamentary systems.

As for the party's future, a lot depends on what sort of agenda it produces. If it is a single-issue party dedicated to unilateral steps toward peace, then I don't see it lasting very long, unless it effectively replaces one of the existing major parties. On the other hand, if it comes to occupy a distinct niche across a range of issues, then it might have staying power. The irony is that the more non-Likud defectors who join, the more likely it is that they will be united solely by the party's core issue, and hence that this will be a one-election special.


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