3 April. Updated again.
Results from the counting of votes by soldiers, diplomats, prisoners and Gush Katif evacuees produced a small but significant change in the balance of power among Israel’s parties in the next Knesset. (Note: I previously referred to these results as “final”; that technically is not correct. In fact, there is a dispute that could result in Labor or Meretz losing a seat to UAL-Ta’al.)
The corrected results, with change from earlier reported results noted:
Kadima: 29 (+1)
Labor: 19 (-1)
Shas: 12 (-1)
Likud: 12 (+1)
Israel Beitenu: 11 (-1)
NRP / NU: 9
United Torah Judaism: 6
Meretz: 5 (+1)
United Arab List: 4
I have to admit that the previously reported results were perhaps slightly more interesting, but these updated results are fantastic news! Likud will not lose its leadership of the right-wing forces to the extremist Israel Beiteinu, after all, and even more importantly:
Kadima’s rise to 29 seats and Meretz’s to five, along with Labor’s 20, and the Gil Pensioners’ Party’s seven, gave Olmert’s plan to withdraw unilaterally from most of the West Bank a majority of 61, even without the nine votes of the Arab parties.
UPDATE: Well, if the previous update to the count was really good news, this more recent one is considerably less so. As reflected in the numbers above, Labor has now lost a seat, with the United Arab List the gainer as a reslt of a recount. As the JPost notes:
Labor’s fall to 19 seats also results in Kadima chairman Ehud Olmert losing the 61-vote majority he had for his convergence plan with Kadima’s 29 seats, Labor’s 20, Meretz’s five and the Gil Pensioners Party’s seven. With those parties winning only 60 seats, Olmert will require the votes of United Torah Judaism, Shas or an Arab party to pass the plan, something he had hoped to avoid. [emphasis added]
This change results from a recount. And it may not be the last recount to be requsted, as some other seats are just a few votes from switching.
Meretz, for example, needs just 145 votes to take a mandate away from Likud. Israel Beitenu needs only 175 votes to get one of Likud’s mandates. And had Shas received another 770 votes, they would have received a mandate currently in the hands of Kadima.