In the final run-up to the Israeli election on Tuesday, many analysts believe the race is too close to call.
With up to one-third of the electorate still undecided, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has entered the political fray saying he hopes Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will succeed him. The endorsement comes after weeks of speculation Olmert was working behind the scenes to undermine Livni’s chances. And her supporters are concerned his statement will do more harm than good, given his unpopularity with voters. In the final polls, the centrist Kadima party, led by Livni, has been closing the gap on the right-wing Likud party, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu. But many say the latter is still most likely to form a government. The recent Gaza war – and the failure to make progress in peace talks with the Palestinians – has made security the core issue of this campaign and that works in Netanyahu’s favour. “In the last 24 hours, a rocket hit the town of Sderot,” Binyamin Netanyahu said. “What is new? Exactly that. Where is the change? Where is the response we were promised? The crushing response. What we have heard is the sound of silence.” Polls show neither party will win enough seats in the Knesset for an outright majority, so a coalition is on the cards. And many analysts say, in that case, Netanyahu will come out on top.