Israel’s Shinui party–which was the third largest after the last election–is in crisis. Its leader, Yosef “Tommy” Lapid resigned yesterday. Ten other Shinui MKs formally resigned from the party. Lapid’s resignation followed the election of a slate of mostly new candidates to the party list, about which he said:
While it’s true they were elected democratically, I’m not required to run on a platform with candidates I do not believe in.
The National Religious Party’s leader Zevulun Orlev took credit for the party’s split and collapse in the polls.
The NRP torpedoed any attempts by Shinui to pass civil marriage in [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon’s government.
Of course, the more important reason is that the party’s center position between Likud and Labor has been taken over by Kadima since Sharon split from the Likud.
Meanwhile, with Russian immigrants a large enough bloc of voters to swing up to 15 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, several parties are making an effort to appeal to this electorate by placing Russians in electable list ranks–annother example of parties using the ‘personal vote‘ of specific candidates as a way to attract votes even in a system where the only vote choice a voter gets is a party slate (and even in a very high-magnitude closed-list system).
the Likud is banking on having two well-known Russian candidates in realistic spots on the party list: Natan Sharansky at number 10 and Yuli Edelstein at number 15.
Kadima is also likely to have several candidates from the XSSR in “realistic” list positions.
Before Sharon’s stroke, up to a third of the Russian vote was likely to go to Kadima, but now many of these same voters are believed to be leaning back towards Likud. And Avigdor Lieberman’s sectarian Israel Beitenu party may coninue to draw a large chunk of the Russian immigrant vote.