Last night I posted my Phase 1 Prediction Analysis:

30 Likud
29 Blue & White
9 Labor
7 Hadash-Taal
6 HaYamin HeHadash
5 Meretz
5 Shas
5 Zehut
4 Kulanu
4 Yisrael Beitenu
4 Raam-Balad
0 Gesher & Others

Today I am posting my Phase 2 Prediction Analysis:

Based on the Phase 1 predictions these are the three most likely scenarios for Phase 2 based on the math. Remember, President Rivlin is on record that if a Prime Minister candidate receives 61 or more nominations in the President’s Residence that he will grant them the chance to form the next government.

#1 Path to a Netanyahu Coalition:

66 nominations for Netanyahu: 30 Likud, 6 UTJ, 6 URP, 6 HaYamin HeHadash, 5 Shas, 5 Zehut, 4 Kulanu, 4 Yisrael Beitenu

43 nominations for Gantz: 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 5 Meretz

11 Won’t nominate: 7 Hadash-Taal, 4 Raam-Balad 

#2 Path to a Gantz Coalition:

59 nominations for Gantz: 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 7 Hadash-Taal, 5 Meretz. 5 Zehut, 4 Kulanu

57 nominations for Netanyahu: 30 Likud, 6 UTJ, 6 URP, 6 HaYamin HeHadash, 5 Shas, 4 Yisrael Beitenu

4 Won’t nominate: 4 Raam-Balad 

#3 Path to a National Unity (Netanyahu-Gantz) Coalition:

69 nominations: 30 Likud, 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 4 Kulanu

The 3 possible paths:

Path #1 is the most likely. Likud, UTJ, URP, HaYamin HeHadash, Shas & Yisrael Beitenu have all made public commitments to endorse Netanyahu in Phase 2. Likud helped form the URP. UTJ & Shas have vowed to never sit a coalition with Lapid. Deri used Netanyahu in his campaign ads. Liberman went as far as going on record that he has no interest in reading the 57-page document released by the Attorney General that recommends an indictment of the Prime Minister pending a hearing. Liberman also refuses to sit with Yaalon. Kahlon has gone on record many times that he is willing to sit with Netanyahu until after the AG makes a decision after the hearing. Kahlon has enlisted former Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin for his campaign ads and has added the words “right-wing” to the Kulanu ballot note. Netanyahu has 61 nominations even without Ex-Likud MK Feiglin’s Zehut party. The majority of Zehut’s voters are right wing and that makes it difficult for Feiglin not to recommend Netanyahu in Phase 2, although he has more room when it comes to Phase 3 which we will discuss tomorrow.

Path #2 is less likely. In this scenario Gantz doesn’t get 61 nominations and he relies on Tibi & Odeh nominating him. In this scenario Gantz would need to give both Kahlon and Feiglin senior portfolios as a prize for not nominating Netanyahu. Would Labor and Meretz agree to sit in a government where they do not receive top portfolios? Where does that leave Lapid, Yaalon and Ashkeanzi? There might not be enough to go around.

Path #3 is the least likely. If the two largest parties don’t have a majority of seats between them that would mean that they would need additional parties to agree to join a possible coalition like that before the official coalition negotiations even get started. Historically, Presidents have only pursued national unity governments when the two largest parties have a majority of the Knesset seats.

Timeline between Phase 1 and 2, and exactly how Phase 2 works:

Tuesday at 10 PM Israel time the voting will end and election will be over. Those who enter the polling station before 10 PM will still be allowed to vote. Each polling station will have a committee of three people, representing three different parties and those three people will tally the votes by hand. The party representatives will text the results to their headquarters so that the Party Leaders know the results before the television journalists. The official results will be entered into the computer and published on the Central Elections Committee website as the night goes on. Exit polls are closed at 8 PM and therefore will not include trends that affect the voting in the closing hours. The media focus will be on the exit polls until the middle of the night when a good percentage of the vote will have been counted.

By the morning we should have most of the votes in and the Phase 1 results should be rather clear. The “double-envelope” votes will not be included in these initial results. These are votes by citizens who voted overseas or in Israeli army bases, specialized handicap stations, hospitals, jails or polling station committee members. These votes will be counted afterwards in the Knesset itself. Expect a slight shift of a seat-or-two in the final Phase 1 results after the double-envelope votes are counted. This becomes particularly interesting for the parties that are close to the electoral threshold.

Phase 2:

President Rivlin is expected to meet with the Knesset factions in an unofficial capacity after the election results are clear. The unofficial negotiations that are conducted between Phase 1 and Phase 2 have almost always enabled one of the Prime Minister candidates to reach enough support to get the first crack. The parties visit the President in order of party size. The law does not take the size of a party into account in terms of mandating who the President should select to form the next government. The law requires President Rivlin to sit with all of the newly elected lists before making a decision on who should get the first crack at forming a new government. Rivlin will make an announcement after all of the nominations are in. The newly elected Knesset will be sworn in on April 30th. We will not have a new government at that date, but we should know who will get the first crack at putting together the next government. As I have mentioned before I expect the new government to be sworn in during the first week of June.


Bottom line my prediction is that it will not be in President Rivlin’s hands. Someone is going to get a majority and the most likely candidate is Netanyahu. By law, in the event no one gets 61 seats, Rivlin can determine based on his own considerations “who has the best chance at forming a coalition”. This scenario seems unlikely based on the current projections.

During the unofficial negotiating phase Gantz will have a tough job giving Kahlon a competitive offer compared to Netanyahu. Gantz can’t negotiate with other Likud members as long as Netanyahu remains the leader of Likud. Feiglin is capable of just nominating himself. He might be capable of making the threat to follow through with a crazy idea like that, but most likely it would be an empty threat to milk a better deal out of Netanyahu. Netanyahu gets through Phase 2 without Feiglin based on my Phase 1 prediction.

Netanyahu, after he gets the mandate from Rivlin, is going to have problems forming coalition agreements with seven additional parties. It is possible Netanyahu doesn’t reach Phase 3 and that Gantz gets a nod to be the second person to try Phase 2, although this option is highly unlikely. A national unity government is possible in Phase 3 and I will address that in my post tomorrow. I do expect changes between Phase 2 and Phase 3.

To all of my loyal readers in Israel – Please exercise your democratic right and vote!