World Citizen: Israeli Politics, Clear as Mud

World Citizen: Israeli Politics, Clear as Mud

Israelis went to the polls to clarify a confusing political situation. What emerged was an even more unclear picture, with all parties performing less well than they expected and several declaring victory even if no one won.

After the two leading contenders for the top spot declared themselves the winners, it is now up to the president to decide who will officially receive the order to go forth and form a government. Even that part of the process, which is usually not contentious, is now controversial.

At the latest count, Kadima, the party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, looked set to capture the most seats in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, with 28 slots. Likud, the party of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has only one fewer, at 27. The one party that emerges from the contest looking muscular is Israel Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home), the party of Avigdor Lieberman. It also received fewer seats than it expected but still comes out as the potential kingmaker with 15. Final numbers, though, could change, as 150,000 absentee ballots -- mostly from soldiers -- have not yet been counted. They could tilt the top slot in Netanyahu's favor.

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