Monday, May 07, 2012

Israeli Elections Off

A surprise coalition deal between Likud and Kadima has led elections to be called off:
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition chairman MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) reached a surprise agreement early Tuesday morning to form a national unity government...
"Under the agreement, Kadima will join Netanyahu's government and commit to supporting its policies through the end of its term in late 2013. Mofaz is expected to be appointed deputy prime minister, as well as minister without portfolio.
"In exchange, Netanyahu's government will support Kadima's proposal to replace the Tal Law, which enables ultra-Orthodox youth to defer national service."
Why did this happen?  From the Kadima standpoint, Mofaz, who justr a few weeks ago was campaigning for Kadima leader with a pledge not to join the government, gets to be the head of a major party and have a voice in policy rather than getting wiped out in elections this fall.  Netanyahu has a much more secure majority, and therefore more room to maneuver as an individual leader with no one faction in his coalition able to bring him down.  The Tal Law bit is probably just a fig leaf for these ambitions on the part of the two leaders.



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