Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
There are global electoral events happening outside the US. On Monday, the day before the US Super Tuesday primaries, Israel will hold its third election in a year, after no government could be formed following April and September 2019 elections. This was due to Yisrael Beiteinu leaving right-wing PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. While Yisrael Beiteinu will not govern with the religious right parties (Shas and the UTJ), neither will they form a government with the Arab parties (the Joint List).
The 120 members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, are elected by national proportional representation with a 3.25% threshold. For most of this election campaign, polls gave the left-leaning Blue & White (B&W) a lead over Netanyahu’s Likud, but three of the last four polls have given Likud a narrow lead.
In Israel, overall alliances are more important than major party support. Even with the recent increase for Likud, the right bloc has 56-57 seats, short of the 61 needed for a majority. The left bloc (B&W, Labor and the Joint List) has 55-57 seats. The most likely outcome is therefore that Yisreal Beiteinu again holds the balance of power, but cannot work with either side.
Many people on the Israeli left thought this election would be different after Netanyahu’s indictment in November on fraud and bribery charges. But there have been many scandals involving Donald Trump and Boris Johnson that have had no impact on their popularity. It appears that the economy and other factors are more important to most voters than political scandals.
Israeli polls close at 7am Tuesday AEDT.
German political crisis in Thuringia
On my personal website, I covered the recent German political crisis in Thuringia, in which the far-right AfD and conservative CDU supported a small pro-business party’s leader to become state president. It is the first time that any German party has cooperated with the AfD to form government. While it caused the resignation of the CDU’s presumed candidate for Chancellor at the next federal election, there has been little impact on German federal polling.
I also covered two late January regional elections in Italy. The left held one region, but the right gained control of the other. In Taiwan, the centre-left candidate won a landslide at January’s presidential election.
Left-wing parties had a massive victory at the German Hamburg state election on Sunday, with a combined 72% of the vote. Hamburg was left-skewed compared to the overall German results at the last federal election.
Sinn Féin surges to 35% in an Irish poll
An Irish poll, taken after the February 8 election gave Sinn Féin a shock popular vote lead, suggests the party would win 35% if no government can be formed and a new election is required. The two conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, that have dominated Irish politics, would respectively win just 17% and 18%. This would be a swing of over 10% to Sinn Féin. If replicated at an election, Ireland would have its first left-wing government.