And here I was, all ready to write about how Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for early elections in September meant A) he didn’t have the domestic backing to lob bunker busters in the general direction of Tehran and B) he was rolling the dice in order to try to get a better result. Turns out I was right in a sense. He just bypassed the whole early elections and democracy thing on the way.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition chairman MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) reached a surprise agreement early Tuesday morning to form a national unity government.
The move came as the Knesset was preparing to disperse for early elections, which were expected to be scheduled for September 4.
Under the agreement, Kadima will join Netanyahu’s government and commit to supporting its policies through the end of its term in late 2013. Mofaz is expected to be appointed deputy prime minister, as well as minister without portfolio.
Mofaz will also serve as a member of the security cabinet, and Kadima members will serve as chairmen of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committees, the economics committee, and any others that are agreed upon by both sides.
Mofaz ousted former Kadima head Tzipi Livni a couple weeks back as head of the opposition. Ambitious doesn’t begin to describe the guy, apparently. Now thanks to Mofaz, Bibi is holding all the cards and the rest of his coalition government can suck it. Dice were loaded all along.
So the question now is what will Bibi do with his new instant majority government? We know what Mofaz is getting out of it.
As talk of early elections heated up in recent weeks, polls have shown Kadima losing significant strength, winning perhaps a dozen seats rather than its current 28, a clear incentive for Mr. Mofaz to make the unity government deal. Several other centrist and left-leaning parties would have each won about a dozen seats, according to the polls, leaving a divided opposition that would likely only have increased Mr. Netanyahu’s power and hold on the government.
Plus he’s now Bibi’s right hand man and Vice Minister. And as such, Netanyahu now has free reign to do whatever he wants for the next 18 months or so. I actually have to hand it to the guy, this is a pretty epic win on his part. Opinions differ on what Bibi will do with his new power but nobody’s disputing he has it. Somewhere, a bunch of Republicans are looking into how to pull this off here.
I’m sure this will end well for everyone involved. Yep.