Boris Johnson toyed with a return to power and learned that it's not happening, at least not right now. Donald Trump may (or may not) try to make a return to the White House in 2024. Jair Bolsonaro has yet to concede defeat in Brazil, although he's eventually going to have to accept that Brazil's Supreme Electoral Court has already declared him to be a loser. At that point, he will undoubtedly begin planning, plotting and scheming to retake power, but doing so is easier said than done.
And then there is Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister of Israel, who seemingly has so many lives that even cats are jealous. In theory, after five terms in office spread across 15 years, his time as the leader of Israel was ended last year, and the next stop for him was an Israeli courtroom, and a corruption trial.
The problem is that the coalition that booted Netanyahu from power was a motley crew of folks from many different political parties scattered across the political spectrum. All they really had in common was their loathing for the Prime Minister. Their barely-a-majority coalition was able to install a two-headed PM, namely Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, who took turns running the show. It turns out that setup—the shaky coalition, the two-PMs-for-the-price-of-one setup, etc.—is not a great basis for governance. And so, the government collapsed.
Consequently, Israelis will head to the polls today for their fifth election in 4 years. The Knesset has 120 seats, which means 61 are needed for a majority. And the only person that has a chance of putting together a 61-seat coalition is... Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli law imposes an embargo on polls once the Friday before the election has ended. Of the 18 polls published before the deadline, six had Netanyahu's Likud-led coalition with 61 or more seats, three had it at 60, and nine had it at 59 seats or less. The only other coalition that comes close is Lapid's, built around his Yesh Atid Party, but no poll has put Team Lapid above 56 seats. And even in that best-case scenario, Lapid can't say where the other 5 seats would come from.
As with the U.S. next Tuesday, the Israeli election is going to come down to turnout. Netanyahu is looking under rocks for right-wing Jewish voters, in hopes of eking out a majority. On the other hand, if Arab turnout is higher than expected, he's got very little chance of returning to power. We'll know what happened in the next day or two, but whatever the result is, the odds are better than average that sometime next year, we'll be writing an item about Israel's sixth election in 5 years. (Z)