Likud

  • Benjamin Netanyahu’s Long Premiership and the Rise of the New Political Center: Is there a Qualitative Change in the Israeli Party System?

    Israel’s party system has been characterized by the bipolar rivalry between the left-wing and right-wing blocks since the late 1970s. In recent years we could have seen at least two trends that seem to diverge from this model. For the last 9 years, the Likud party has formed three successive governments which have made Benjamin Netanyahu the longest continuously serving prime minister in the history of Israel. Another new occurrence is the preservation of a significant representation of the centre parties for four Knesset terms in the row. The aim of the paper is to verify whether Israel’s party system has departed from the two-blocs bipolar model. Based on the empirical data (election results, government formation, party’s political platforms) it examines whether the parties’ rivalry in the years 2009–2018 differed qualitatively from the previous period. To answer this question the paper investigates three hypotheses. First – Likud has become a dominant party in Israel. Second – a dominant and stable Israeli right-wing parties’ bloc has formed. Third – an enduring and relevant centre sector has emerged in Israel’s party system.

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