Israeli political parties submit final candidate lists as fifth election in four years begins

Israeli political parties submit final candidate lists as fifth election in four years begins
Israel has begun its fifth election in four years as political parties submitted their final candidate lists on Thursday.
2 min read
15 September, 2022
Israel continues to persecute Palestinian communities, systematically expelling families from their homes [source: Getty]

Israeli political parties submitted their final lists of candidates on Thursday for an unprecedented fifth election in four years, which looks unlikely to break the deadlock between former premier Benjamin Netanyahu and his bitter rivals.

The November 1 ballot will see the veteran Netanyahu leading a bloc of right-wing and far-right ultra-religious parties against so-called centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid who is leading a far more fragmented camp, spanning left to right.

So far polls have shown neither camp winning an outright majority in Israel's 120-seat Knesset, an outcome that analysts say could leave Israel facing many more months of political uncertainty as economic and security troubles mount.

Since 2019, Israel has seen four inconclusive elections deliver two short-lived coalition governments and just one state budget while Netanyahu stands trial on corruption charges that he denies.

Since then there have been further devastating assaults on Gaza and violent raids in the West Bank, killing scores of civilians.

"Israel has been in political crisis mode since 2019. This has deep implications for policymaking across the board. The country is paying a price," said Israel Democracy Institute President Yohanan Plesner.

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He noted long-needed economic, education and transportation reforms that would help lower soaring living costs and expand Israel's work force.

Netanyahu, who was in power consecutively from 2009 to 2021, on Wednesday pledged to form a "strong, stable and national" government that he pledged would "quash terrorism, restore national pride and reduce living costs".

But while his Likud party is likely to be the largest in parliament, recent polls show his camp, comprising three more factions, falling between one and four seats short of a commanding majority.

At the same time, Lapid's camp is set for an even weaker showing and its various parties have ruled out membership in any Netanyahu coalition government.

"Unfortunately, a slide into a sixth election campaign after the fifth is not inconceivable. It's not science fiction," Plesner said. 

Israel has orchestrated a policy of systematic persecution against Palestinian communities, the severity of which amounts to the "crime of apartheid" concluded Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. 

A wave of air strikes on Gaza this year led to the deaths of at least 44 Palestinians, including 17 children. 

An 11-day 2021 bombardment of the besieged strip, which has been cut off from vital resources by Israel for years, resulted in the deaths of over 250 Palestinians including 123 civilians.

The reason Israel's most recent coalition dissolved was due to defections over a number of issues, including the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.  

[Reuters contributed to this report]