Vote sharing deals leave Liberman out in the cold

Blue and White, Likud sign with allies in their blocs.

Yisrael Beitenu head and former defense minister MK Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yisrael Beitenu head and former defense minister MK Avigdor Liberman
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With the February 20 deadline fast approaching to reach a surplus vote sharing agreement, Yisrael Beytenu may suffer in the March 2 election because the party has been unable to reach a deal with any of its potential partners.
On Wednesday, Blue and White – which signed with Yisrael Beytenu ahead of the September election – signed a vote sharing agreement with Labor-Meretz-Gesher. Likud has signed with Yamina, and Shas is expected to sign shortly with United Torah Judaism.
Those maneuvers leave Yisrael Beytenu and the Joint List as the only parties expected to cross the 3.25% threshold that do not have a surplus vote sharing agreement. There is no chance the two nemeses will enter such an agreement.
“We made the decision out of responsibility to the Center-Left bloc,” Labor-Gesher-Meretz leader Amir Peretz said. “We don’t have the privilege to miss an opportunity to replace the current government and its policies. The size of the blocs and not the size of the largest party will decide who forms the next government.”
Surplus-vote sharing agreements enable votes for a party to move to another if both have votes beyond the amount a seat is calculated to be worth. Calculations determine if there are enough extra votes between the two to give the party with more extra votes an additional seat.
Blue and White did not sign one ahead of its first election in April. When Yisrael Beytenu signed with Blue and White in August, the Likud attacked Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.
“The cat is out of the bag,” the Likud said. “Liberman signed a surplus agreement with Lapid and Gantz, after he publicly declared that he would support Gantz and Lapid for prime minister. Anyone who wants Netanyahu as prime minister must vote for Likud.”
Yisrael Beytenu responded at the time that the vote sharing agreement was merely technical, noting that the party had signed a deal with current Labor chairman Amir Peretz’s Am Ehad Party in the 1999 election.
“Technically, there was no other option, and we did not want to risk losing the mandate we could gain from the deal,” Yisrael Beytenu said.
Liberman himself tweeted that he laughed at the Likud’s attack on him.
“Netanyahu signed an agreement of surrender to Hamas,” he wrote. “I signed a vote sharing agreement with Blue and White, which I think is preferable.”