Analysis

Israel: Netanyahu Likely to Forge Broad Coalition After Election Setback
Left: former Israeli TV host Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, speaks to supporters today after his new party scored a stunning second-place finish in yesterday’s Knesset elections. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images) Right: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was necessary to form the 'broadest possible government’ after his coalition lost a significant number of seats in the elections. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
January 23, 2013
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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Yesterday’s Knesset elections were a major political setback for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and likely will force him to form a broader coalition and make significant policy changes. The most stunning development of the election was the second-place finish for the new Yesh Atid party which represents secular Israelis and opposes Netanyahu’s policies toward the Palestinians and West Bank settlements.
The reasons for the unexpected drop in support for Netanyahu’s coalition are unclear, but they may have had as much to do with complacency by his core supporters as the outspoken opposition to him by the left. However, the election results also dealt major defeats to Israeli moderates and to former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, once viewed as a future prime minister, and saw a surge in support for pro-settlements party Jewish Home.
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