AP Reports: Israeli elections generally come down to a race between a conservative bloc — led by Netanyahu’s Likud Party and backed by religious parties — against a more dovish bloc. The story of this election could turn out to be the divisions in the opposition center-left bloc, where three different parties — two of them led by former journalists — plausibly contend for the top position.
“The left doesn’t have a leader — that’s the problem,” said political analyst Hanan Kristal. “They don’t have anyone that can go up against” Netanyahu.
The prime minister unleashed the furor by leaking to media on Sunday that he was considering early elections even though his term can last through late 2013. It quickly became apparent that his hand is being forced by serious disagreements between secular and religious coalition partners over the proposed drafting of Jewish seminary students.
The official side of the process was then suspended Monday morning by the death of Netanyahu’s 102-year-old father Ben-Zion, ushering in a weeklong mourning period for the premier.