While Israel’s election day Tuesday was stressful and nerve-wracking for most of its political candidates across the political spectrum, the pressure on the center-leaning Kadima party head Shaul Mofaz had not abated by Wednesday night, 24 hours after polls closed.
According to data on Wednesday night, which did not include 220,000 so-called “double-envelope” votes that were still to be counted, Kadima had barely passed the minimum threshold of votes required to enter the Knesset. “Double-envelope” votes are those cast by soldiers, Foreign Ministry and other government employees abroad, Jewish Agency representatives, and citizens in hospitals, prisons or institutions for the handicapped, which are sealed inside two envelopes and treated separately from the votes cast by most of the citizenry at ballot boxes around the country. These last votes have the potential to alter the outcome for Kadima.
By Thursday morning, with up to 70 percent of the last 220,000 ballots counted, it appeared that Kadima would enter the 19th Knesset with two Knesset seats. Mofaz and Kadima No. 2 Israel Hasson would occupy those seats. Kadima needed only 1,200 of the final 220,000 votes to pass the minimum 2% threshold for entering the Knesset.
Should Kadima succeed in garnering enough votes to enter the Knesset, analysts believe that Mofaz will attempt to join the coalition, because a party with just two seats would be legislatively ineffectual in the opposition.