Monday, June 17, 2024

Israeli Election: Netanyahu’s Likud Signs Surplus Vote-Sharing Deal With Far-Right Party

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Wednesday signed a surplus vote-sharing agreement with the far-right Religious Zionism, which includes the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit and the anti-LGBT Noam factions, ahead of next month’s Knesset elections.

The move further aligns the premier with extremists such as Itamar Ben Gvir, a disciple of the late far-right extremist rabbi Meir Kahane. His Otzma Yehudit party — which recently joined forces with the Religious Zionism party — supports encouraging emigration of non-Jews from Israel and expelling Palestinians and Arab Israelis who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state, whose sovereignty would extend throughout the West Bank.

Vote-sharing agreements, which are widely used in Israeli elections, allow parties to ensure that extra votes they win that don’t add up to a Knesset seat do not go to waste. Instead, a party to transfer those votes to another party through a special agreement.

Under the law, the combined leftover votes go to the party closest to winning another seat — and are often sufficient to add that seat to its tally, making the votes potentially decisive in a close race.

Such deals only count if both parties pass the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent of the votes.

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