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Israeli legislative election, 1999: Map

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The Elections for the 15th Knesset were held on 17 May 1999 alongside simultaneous elections for Prime Minister.

Context

The elections were held at a time when negotiations with the Palestinians were going badly. Although the Wye River Memorandum had passed the Knesset, it had alienated both the left (who claimed the peace process was moving too slowly) and the right, who were unhappy with territorial concessions. The Likud-Gesher-Tzomet alliance had fallen apart, with more members leaving Likud to set up Herut – The National Movement and the Centre Party.

Netanyahu's government finally gave up the ghost due to difficulties in passing the state budget and in January 1999 passed a bill calling for early elections.

Before the elections, Ehud Barak's Labour Party formed an alliance with Gesher and Meimad called One Israel in the hope that a united front on the centre-left would give them enough seats to form a more stable coalition.

Results

Party Votes % of vote Seats at start
of session
Seats at end
of session
One Israel 1 670,484 20.2% 26 0
Likud 2 468,103 14.1% 19 21
Shas 430,676 13.0% 17 17
Meretz 253,525 7.6% 10 10
Yisrael BaAliyah 3 171,705 5.1% 6 4
Shinui 167,748 5.0% 6 6
Centre Party 2 165,622 5.0% 6 3
National Religious Party 140,307 4.2% 5 5
United Torah Judaism 125,741 3.7% 5 5
United Arab List 4 114,810 3.4% 5 2
National Union 5 100,181 3.0% 4 0
Hadash 87,022 2.6% 3 3
Yisrael Beiteinu 5 86,153 2.6% 4 0
Balad 6 66,103 1.9% 2 1
One Nation 64,143 1.9% 2 2
Non-qualifiers 197,093 6.0% - -
Total 3,309,416 100% 120 120
Labour-Meimad 1 2 - - 0 25
National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu 5 - - 0 7
Gesher 1 - - 0 2
Democratic Choice 3 - - 0 2
Arab National Party 4 - - 0 2
Herut – The National Movement 5 - - 0 1
National Unity – National Progressive Alliance 4 - - 0 1
Ta'al 6 - - 0 1
Lev 2 - - 0 0
New Way 2 - - 0 0


Note that Yisrael Beiteinu gained a seat after the vote-sharing process was completed.

1 One Israel split into Labour-Meimad and Gesher

2 Five members left the Centre Party. Three set up New Way and two created Lev, which immediately merged into Likud. Later, two of the three that set up New Way resigned from the Knesset and were replaced by Centre Party members, whilst the remaining New Way MK joined Labour-Meimad

3 Two MKs left Yisrael BaAliyah to set up the Democratic Choice

4 Three MKs left the United Arab List; two set up the Arab National Party and one created National Unity - National Progressive Alliance

5 Herut broke away from the National Union, which became allied to Yisrael Beiteinu.

6 Ta'al broke away from Balad

Non-qualifiers

The following parties ran for election, but did not pass the electoral threshold of 1.5%:



Two parties initially signed up to participate in the election, but withdrew their candidacy before election day:

The Fifteenth Knesset

After winning the Prime Ministerial elections, Ehud Barak formed the 28th government of Israel on 6 July 1999. His coalition included One Israel, Shas, Meretz, Yisrael BaAliyah, the Centre Party, the National Religious Party and United Torah Judaism, and initially had 16 ministers, though the number later rose to 24. Avraham Burg was appointed as Speaker of the Knesset.

United Torah Judaism left the coaltion in September 1999 after a breach of the Sabbath. The government finally collapsed on 10 December 2000 when Barak resigned in the face of the outbreak of the Second Intifada and the Israeli Arab riots of October. Barak called new elections for the position of Prime Minister, which he lost to Ariel Sharon.

Sharon formed the 29th government on 7 March 2001. He set up a national unity government, including Likud, Labor-Meimad, Shas, the Centre Party, the National Religious Party, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael BaAliyah, and National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu. Sharon's government had 26 ministers, which later rose to 29, necessitating the addition of a small table to the end of the Ministers row in the Knessetmarker.

See also



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