With both the centrists of Kadima and Likud on the right claiming victory in the Israeli general election the nation looks set for a period of political turmoil. A hair’s breadth separates the two parties in Israel’s 18th parliament, although the official results will take another 48 hours to compile.
Kadima’s one seat lead means Tzipi Livni should get first shot at trying to form a government. But the right looks strong. Labour slumped to an historic low with only 13 seats, a bitter defeat for the party that founded Israel. “I think according to the law the president has to consult all the factions, all the parties, and they will be giving their recommendations and he will have to base his decision on the recommendations of the parties,” says one analyst. Overall right-wing parties won 64 of the 120 seats. Livni’s chances of persuading some to jump ship and follow her prime ministerial lead appear slim. The best she may be able to hope for is taking Kadima into an alliance lead by Likud, and Benjamin Netanyahu.