The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Prime Minister Sharon's desire to hold elections as soon as possible - possibly as early as late February - could suggest that he will leave Likud to form a new politically centrist party. Sharon may want quick elections so that there would be little time for Likud to regroup. After all, with little more than three months prior to elections, Likud would be faced with a party primary, and the winner would then have the thankless task of commencing a campaign for the general election against a popular prime minister with a very long history in the Likud.
While Sharon leading the party and serving as its candidate for prime minister would almost assure Likud of victory, Israel is better off if Sharon leaves Likud to set up a new party. Clearly, Sharon's political positions have shifted significantly and are now well to the left of Likud's. If Israelis support Sharon, they should vote for a party that will fully reflect his positions. If they support more traditional Likud positions, they should vote for a party headed by Binyamin Netanyahu.
In addition to taking seats away from Likud, a new party led by Sharon would likely devastate the fervently secular and center-left Shinui party, which has 15 seats in the current Knesset. Thus, the election would likely leave a right-wing bloc of Likud, National Union and National Religious Party; the Shas and United Torah Judaism charedi parties; Sharon's party; and a left-wing bloc of Labor, Yachad-Meretz and the Arab parties.
While the Likud might not lead the government that is formed after the general elections, the Israeli right would not be worse off than it would be with Sharon heading Likud. Sharon's party and Labor would be unable to form a coalition alone, and it is unlikely that Sharon would turn to Meretz or the Arab parties. Sharon would have to gain the support of Shas, or convince one or more of the right-wing parties to join, and he would have to retain their support or risk their defection to a new government headed by Likud. In contrast, Sharon successfully pulled off the withdrawal from Gaza without the support of Shas or any right-wing party.