For those who don't know, Amir Peretz is the head of the Histadrut, Israel's main labor union, and is best know for the many strikes that he has led against the government. He is an economic populist, with a socialist outlook on the economy (he was against all of Netanyahu's reforms), is on the left with regards to the Palestinians and is a Sefardi from a development town.
I will play at being a political commentator and give my assessment of the winners and losers and what is in store ahead.
- Amir Peretz
- Tomi Lapid and Shinui - The middle class will not vote for Amir Peretz. They know him as the person who ruined their vacation by closing the airport, prevented them from getting a passport to leave the country, closed the ports, etc. No one in my office even those who always voted Labor will vote for him. Shinui, will now try to pick up these voters and become the party of the middle class.
- Shimon Peres
- Shas - Amir Peretz being a Sefardi and an economic populist will take many of Shas's Sefardi Masorti voters which will weaken Shas in the next election
- Ariel Sharon - Sharon could deal with Shimon Peres, he will not be able to deal with Amir Peretz and there will be new elections in the next 4-5 months
What does this mean for the average person in Israel?
- There will be early elections
- Both Labor and Likud may split with Sharon, Peres, and other old guard Labor and Likud figures forming a new party.
- The Charedi parties (mostly Shas) will lose seats and may face tough times especially if Shinui picks up seats
- Tomi Lapid and Shinui (unfortunately, as they are rabidly anti-religious) have become relevant again.
One more note, the latest polls show that a union of the NRP (Dati Leumi) and the National Union (headed by Benny Elon) whould get 20+ seats, a huge improvement for the right wing over what the number of seats that they won in the last election. That many seats will give them a tremendous amount of power, it will be difficult to form a government without them.
The next few months will be fascinating to watch as everyone jockeys for position in the elections, unfortunately, this is very bad for the economy because there will be no 2006 budget until after the elections.