One day before the legislative election in Israel, the opinion polls point towards two possible scenarios: more of the same, with Sharon’s Likud Party becoming part of a coalition government or the “national area” parties forming a government alone with their allies from the orthodox religious parties.
The latest polls published in Maariv and Haaretz newspapers indicate that Sharon’s right-wing Likud Party could obtain 32 out of the 120 seats in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), while together, the national area and orthodox parties could reach 66 seats, more than half the total, enabling them to form a government outright.
Amram Mitzna, the leader of the Labour Party, who has been decreasing in the opinion polls in recent weeks, has declared that he will not form a government with Ariel Sharon. Mitzna left the coalition with the Likud Party last November.
It is estimated that this time there will be a high percentage of floating voters, perhaps as many as 16% of the total of 4.7 million. While peace is an important issue, the economic climate is also foremost in the minds of Israel’s citizens. The country is going through the worst depression in its history, with real earnings falling from an average of 1,500 Euro per month in 2000 to 1,300 last year.
Meanwhile the need to face the threat to security is underlined by the declarations of Hammas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Brigades, which have declared that their campaign of violence against Israel will proceed.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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