Israeli legislative election, 2009

The Israeli Parliament elections in 2009 took place before the normal expiration of its term on 10 February 2009, one year. The election campaign was marked among other things by an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip called Operation Cast Lead, which ended three weeks before the election day with a ceasefire.

Initial situation

After the election to the Knesset in 2006 had produced no clear victor, the two strongest parties, the liberal Kadima and the Israeli Labor Party Avodah agreed on forming a coalition with the participation of smaller parties, Shas and Gil. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remained, who had a few months earlier assumed the office of diseased Ariel Sharon. After the end of the Lebanon war in September 2006, the Nationalist Party immigrants Jisra'el Beiteinu was added as a fifth party in the coalition.

While Olmert's reign were raised serious allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister. In the summer of 2008, Olmert was forced to resign from the coalition partners. He subsequently announced to give up the chairmanship of the Kadima. On 17 September 2008, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was elected as the new chairman of Kadima, four days later, Olmert announced his resignation as Prime Minister.

Livni's attempts to continue the coalition government as the new prime minister failed due to the resistance of the Orthodox Shas party, which is why President Shimon Peres proclaimed 2008 elections in October. The election of the Knesset had to take place in accordance with electoral law within 90 days. Ehud Olmert remained a caretaker in office.


To select the 18th Knesset were a total of 33 parties and lists. Around 4.8 million voters were eligible to vote, the parliamentary seats are distributed according to the proportional representation system. Since Israel is considered a restrictive clause of only two percent, as was always to be expected with the arrival of numerous parties in the Knesset.

Following the failure to form a government of Tzipi Livni, a shift to the right in favor of the Likud opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was expected. Netanyahu, who did not want to continue the previous peace process with the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab states, benefited from the escalation of the conflict in the Gaza Strip after the end of December 2008, the Israeli army had responded with a military action ( Operation Cast Lead ) on the continued firing of rockets by Hamas. Also for the nationalist Jisra'el Beiteinu (Israel - our home ) by Avigdor Lieberman votes increases were expected. Surveys presented in their view, replace the Labor Party Defense Minister Ehud Barak as the third strongest party.

Netanyahu was according to the polls in January of 2009 as the safe choice winner, but his lead shrank in the last days before the election, so that the possible election outcome was unclear last.

Top candidates of the major parties

Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud

Avigdor Lieberman, Jisra'el Beiteinu

Ehud Barak, Avodah

Official final result

As of February 18, 2009:

Government formation

After the tight election declared themselves both Foreign Minister Livni of the Kadima and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to winners. Although the Kadima was a seat nose strongest party in front of the Likud, but had the right-wing parties thanks to the votes increases for Lieberman's Jisra'el Beiteinu with 65 of 120 seats, a majority in the Knesset.

Nevertheless, offered Kadima Likud to form a government of national unity, but was similar in 1984, when Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres formed a grand coalition, at least on a rotation of the office of Prime Minister. A participation as a junior partner under Netanyahu concluded Tzipi Livni against it.

After Avigdor Lieberman had called for a coalition with Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu was officially commissioned by President Peres on 20 February 2009 to form a government. Despite the safe majority of right-wing parties also negotiated with Netanyahu and Kadima Avodah.

Netanyahu and Lieberman agreed as expected rapidly to a collaboration, as the second coalition partner, the Shas could be won. On 24 March 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak agreed on a coalition. The chairman of the working party Avodah should remain after the agreement of Defense; He also wrestled from Netanyahu 's commitment to adhere to the existing international treaties and to promote the formation of an independent Palestinian state. The participation of the Avodah in the Netanyahu government sparked criticism from both the Likud and the Labor Party. After heated discussions but agreed the Avodah at a special convention of the Coalition. Mar 25, 2009 Netanyahu completed the formation of a government with a coalition agreement with the national religious party Habajit Hajehudi (Jewish homeland). The six coalition has 69 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in on 31 March 2009 as the new prime minister.