Final election results are in: Now, with the “double-enveloped” ballots of soldiers, the handicapped, prisoners and hospital patients counted, the Elections Committee reported that Kadima, Likud and Meretz gained an additional Knesset seat.
Shas, Israel Our Home and United Arab List-Ta’al all lost one mandate.
The final Knesset seat tally is as follows: Kadima - 29, Likud – 12, Meretz – 5, Israel Our Home – 11, Shas – 12, United Arab List-Ta’al – 3.
Kadima officials expressed their satisfaction with the additional mandate the party has received.
“This will better our position in the coalition talks,” one official said.
Assuming the Pensioners party backs Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan, the final election results secure a Jewish majority for the plan.
The final results are advantageous to Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu in that he will now be opposition chairman, but the Knesset member added to the Likud’s list is Yisrael Katz, who is one of Bibi’s rivals within the party.
While Meretz officials said the added mandate will be significant as far as the party’s representation in the various Knesset committees is concerned, the leadership crisis regarding party Chairman Yossi Beilin has not been settled.
“The elections are still a failure from his standpoint,” one Meretz official said. “In the current constellation we should have received more than six mandates and not drop to five.”
According to the numbers published Wednesday, after 99.7 percent of the votes had been counted, Kadima had received 28 mandates, Labor 20, Shas 13, Israel Our Home 12, Likud 11, NU-NRP 9, Gil (Pensioners) 7, United Torah Judaism 6, Meretz 4, United Arab List-Ta’al 4, Ra’am 3 and Hadash 3.
Last minute choices
Throughout the day Thursday members of the elections committee counted 150,000 “double-enveloped” ballots, belonging to soldiers, Gaza evacuees, the ill and infirm, and prisoners, who vote at locations other than their registered precinct due to their circumstances.
A Rafi Smith survey solicited by Ynet revealed that three out of every 10 voters chose who to vote for in the 96 hours immediately prior to the election.
Additionally, only 17 percent said that they voted for the same party year after year, which indicates Israeli voters’ “disloyalty” tendencies. Only supporters of two religious parties – United Torah Judaism and Shas – said they vote for the same party every election. The survey found those two parties have between 95 and 97 percent voter loyalty.