Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winners And Losers List of Israel's 33rd Coalition Government

It is hard to define definite winners and losers with the final formation of a coalition government, following the surprising election results on January 22. The prominent winners left some place to be called losers, and the seem-like-losers are also in some sort winners.

Let's start with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu deserves the title of a winner and a loser combined. If called by the TIME magazine last year 'King Bibi', it is now fair to say the 'King is Naked' - since Lapid managed to strip him from his power, leaving him as a weak Prime Minister in term of policy making and public image, with a turmoil left at home in his party. Hence, if you look at the big picture, Netanyahu is now entering his 3rd term as Prime Minister and is on course of becoming Israel's longest serving Prime minister if the gov't remains stable for its entire term.

Avigdor Liberman: Winner. Bibi is keeping him the Foreign Ministry. He has remained in power as Netanyahu's number 2 in Likud Beitenu and has managed to get the necessary needs to keep his party's balance despite the low number of Ministerial portfolios and the shrinking power of both parties combined, compared to the previous government.

Yair Lapid: Winner and Loser. Lapid managed to keep the Haredi parties out of the government, which is an achievement for itself. He also managed to get the Education ministry for Yesh Atid, while using his power as the second largest party in the coalition to dictate some of his own policies that he promised to execute during the election season. However, agreeing to serve as Finance minister while he  admitted has no understanding in economic, might come back to haunt him in the near future. It isn't an easy job, especially for a former TV presenter and journalist in times of global economic uncertainty and a growing deficit.

Naftali Bennet: Winner and Loser. Yep, his rock solid alliance with Yair Lapid forced Netanyahu to take him as a partner in the coalition. He also managed to get a pretty filled cabinet of stuff to keep him busy and relevant as a partner in the government. Yet, overshadowed by Lapid's overrated demands and achievements, Bennett is yet another party leader in a government that does not seem to follow the past four years in terms of it's diplomatic policy. And the Haredim and Yechimovich are always in the waiting room, should he decide to quit the government following a peace agreement with the Palestinians or unilateral concessions, if such a day arrives

Tzipi Livni: Winner. She has a senior position in the government, will be involved in the peace negotiations and will likely become Netanyahu's darling and working partner.

Shelly Yechimovich: Loser. Not only did she not manage to expand Labor's base in the elections, she has also refused to serve as Finance minister or even share the Premiership with Netanyahu in the last year of the government as it was offered to her behind closed doors, thus, failing to dictate some of her policies in the upcoming government. Yes, she will serve as opposition leader, but in 12 months from now she's up for reelection, and remember what happened to Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz with 28 seats.

Shas and UTJ: OY VEY!!!!