The Jerusalem Post headline from March 4 looks prophetic now.
“An election do-over in 2019? It can certainly happen” ran the headline at the top of the page, five weeks before the April 9 election.
The premise was that polls at the time were predicting 61 MKs for the Center-Left bloc, which included Arab parties unwilling to enter any coalition.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Center-Right bloc was polling at 59, and he was ruling out a coalition with any of the parties outside his bloc.
The polls were incorrect. The Center-Right won 65 seats, which ended up still not enough, because Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu Party refused to enter Netanyahu’s coalition.
The article suggested that President Reuven Rivlin could give both Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz a chance to form a governing coalition, and they could both fail, which would force an election.
Channel 13 political analyst Raviv Drucker reported then that Rivlin could compel Netanyahu and Gantz to form a government together, and then let them fight over who would come first in a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office.
But Netanyahu preempted Rivlin from letting anyone else run the country by coercing the Knesset on Wednesday night to disperse itself, initiating that very do-over election on September 17.
The move upset backbenchers in his party, one of whom was overheard in a private conversation with another Likud MK calling it “suicide.”
MKs were not the only ones upset about another election being held; people across the country have expressed outrage over the news.
But for those who found a do-over election to be bad news, there could be even worse news yet to come.
What is even worse than a repeat election? A three-peat election (borrowing the word – a registered trademark owned by former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley – made up by Byron Scott during his team’s attempt to win a third straight NBA championship in 1989).
Yes, that can certainly happen. It is even more likely now that Netanyahu and Liberman have indicated that they do not want to sit with each other in a government ever again.
That could leave Netanyahu short of coalition partners when he attempts to form the next government. If the Center-Right minus Yisrael Beytenu fails to win 61 seats on September 17, it is very possible that no one will be able to form a government.
Perhaps Rivlin would be able to intervene then. Perhaps he won’t.
Another election called in 2019 is still possible. Clip and save this article, just in case.