WASHINGTON - While the winner of the 2013 elections appears to be pretty much decided, international media are now debating the implications of another term for Benjamin Netanyahu on the diplomatic process.
Along with United States President Barack Obama's second inauguration, Israeli elections are in the world media's eye. Foreign press are busy trying to predict the make-up of the future coalition.
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A Washington Post editorial claimed Netanyahu is one of only two Likud members who support the establishment of a Palestinian state, out of the top 30 candidates on the Likud list.
The question, it said, was whether likely-winner Netanyahu will include Center-Left parties in the coalition, or risk isolation both within his party and internationally.
The authors advised the Obama administration to congratulate Netanyahu on his expected re-election, but press him to form a Center-Right coalition behind the scenes.
The Washington Post editorial
Prominent candidates such as Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman gained extensive coverage in the Muslim world, raising concerns for the region's future.
English-language Turkish newspapers Today's Zaman and Hurriyet were focused on the Netanyahu-Bennett scramble for the "extreme-right" vote, estimating that Bennett will be Netanyahu's first pick for the new coalition.
The two papers noted the similarities between the rivals, pointing out their army experience and American background, as well as their views on West Bank settlement construction.
In respect to strained Turkish-Israeli relations, the papers estimated that the foreseen hawkish coalition is unlikely to have a positive effect.
Netanyahu on Der Spiegel
Bennett garnered extensive coverage in the Iranian press as well, which remarked that Habayit Hayehudi's leader has taken over a three-seat party and went on to pose a serious challenge to Netanyahu.
Iranian Press TV emphasized Bennett's "objection to a Palestinian state" based on Habayit Hayehudi's annexation plan, further remarking on the general "non-optimistic" mood of the Israeli public.
Conversely, German media refrained from expressing a clear stance on the elections, choosing instead to focus on the swing-votes:
"Is there still a possibility for a surprise in the Israeli general elections? One out of five voters is still undecided," wrote Der Spiegel.
Gil Naveh contributed to this report
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