Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The election, Israel's fourth in less than ten years, was a referendum on Netanyahu, who had faced unprecedented public criticism leading up to the election. However, with a high turnout of 72%, his centre-right Likud defeated other parties by winning 30 out of the Knesset's 120 seats, an increase from 18 seats in the 2013 parliament. The prime minister reportedly called HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) leader Naftali Bennet and other party heads to discuss forming a new coalition, just minutes after exit polls were announced. He needs the support of 61 Knesset members to form a government.
- A nationalist government would expand settlements, deepening tension with the Palestinian Authority (PA), and risking West Bank violence.
- The PA will likely advance diplomatic efforts to gain recognition as a state and to pressure Israel in international forums.
- Netanyahu's pledge not to establish a Palestinian state could prompt Washington to support a UNSC resolution on a two-state solution.
- A right-wing government will heighten tension with the United States and Europe just as nuclear negotiations with Iran reach a conclusion.
- A right-wing government with the ultra-Orthodox and Kulanu could seek to increase government subsidies while lowering the cost of living.