Two Left-wing Israeli Parties Unite ahead of Election
The Labor and Meretz parties, all that remain of what was once a relatively large and powerful leftist vanguard in Israeli politics, have decided to unite for the upcoming national election, scheduled for March 2. The two parties, which at one time could together claim about a third of the 120 seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, currently hold only 11 seats between them, with many of their historical voters having moved to the center. Taken separately, Labor and Meretz are each perilously close to the minimum of four seats needed for Knesset representation under a threshold rule; both see a unified list as necessary for their political survival – especially as Israel goes to the polls for the third time in less than a year. The series of snap elections is being viewed as little more than a referendum on the continued stewardship of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is about to be indicted in three separate cases of alleged corruption and appears to be using a Right-Left stalemate to remain in power and possibly mitigate his legal woes through certain rules seen as protecting sitting prime ministers.