Netanyahu and Herzog both call on voters to cast a ballot for the party led by the man they want to see as prime minister.
In interviews to both Channel 1 and Channel 2, the prime minister warns center and right wing voters that his leading the next government is not a foregone conclusion and that voters should “vote Likud” because only a strong Likud will be able to negotiate a stable coalition. He is speaking mainly to those who plan to vote Jewish Home, Yesh Atid, Kulanu, and to a certain extent Yachad.
Earlier, wary of “poll-euphoria,” Tzipi Livni tells Zionist Union activists that even though the polls look promising, the joint Labor/Hatnua list needs an even stronger lead against Likud to make Herzog prime minister.
Livni should know: In the election before-last, in 2009, Kadima under her leadership won more seats than Likud but the cards were such that she could not establish a coalition. Netanyahu then stepped in and became prime minister despite not heading the largest party.
What the leaderships of both parties seem to agree on is that the shocks Israel’s political system has undergone since the early 2000s (split ticket voting, briefly) up to this election (raising the election threshold to four Knesset seats) have made life harder for any would-be prime minister.
One wonders, after Netanyahu tells Channel 2 he does not regret advancing the election “since the last government reached a point where it didn’t function anymore,” whether he thinks this time around, when Likud is slated to win only 3-4 seats more than Yesh Atid, Jewish Home or Kulanu, the task of establishing a lasting coalition will be easier.
However the election turns out, one can predict that no matter which parties will be its constituent parts, the next coalition may well be a rag-doll where the ideological seams are stretched nearly to breaking point.