As campaigning in Israel’s election draws to a close the main concern for acting Prime Minister Minister Ehmud Olmert would appear to be turnout.
Polls have consistently pointed to a victory for his centrist Kadima party and it seems only voter apathy or a late devastating attack by Palestinian extremists could undermine its chances of success. The Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu, from which Kadima broke away, is rallying its troops for a last push for undecided voters. Likud is lying third in the polls. It has based its campaign on opposition to Olmert’s plan to dismantle some Jewish settlements in the West Bank as part of a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. Labour, which also lost leading members to Kadima, is shaping up as a possible coalition partner for the party created by the incapacitated Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. If both fall short of a parliamentary majority the gap could be filled by the left wing Meretz or religious parties. As always in Israeli elections, security will be tight. No matter who wins it would appear that in the present climate peacemaking with the Palestinians will remain on hold.