By Tuesday morning, March 3, Israel will know who won and who lost its third election in a year. The size of voter turnout will carry an equally crucial message. Despite efforts by all the parties to combat election-fatigue, more voters than usual are expected to stay away from their polling stations out of two considerations (that have nothing to do with the coronavirus):
- The dearth of convincing leaders to take over from the incumbent prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud after four terms in office. It is hard to see much difference on issues between Likud and Kahol Lavon, the new party established a year ago for the express purpose of unseating Netanyahu. No longer a novelty, Benny Gantz and Co. failed to come up with an appealing message.
The left-of center and centrist space stands vacant since the historic Labor’s breakup, while the leftwing parties continue to self-destruct. Kahol Lavon has failed to pose a convincing alternative in government for challenging the supremacy of the rightist camp with all its varying shades.
- General revulsion from the mudslinging campaign, which sank to the pits as never before in Israel’s electoral history. The contenders on all sides used their final appearances before voting day to heap dirt on their opposite numbers. At an earlier stage, Netanyahu tried highlighting his achievements to impress the electorate as a tactic for beating down his untried and inexperienced challengers in Kahol Lavan. People yawned. It was only when he resorted in the last lap of the campaign to negative tactics that Likud started widening the gap with an increasingly desperate Kahol Lavan.