These were strange elections. The “Right Block” (of political parties) and the “Center Block” have achieved a problematic tie, while the “Left Block” has been brutally crushed by its (lack of) voters.
Ehud Barak, a former Prime Minister, current Minister of Defense, and chairman of the Avoda (Israeli Labor Party), was the first party leader to carry a speech last night, soon after the exit polls were announced at 10pm. Among other things, in his “Defeat Speech” — as it was quickly declared by the news media — he warned that his party isn’t afraid of sitting in the opposition. Other prominent members of the Avoda are now echoing the same message. “We need to listen to our constituency, and to rebuild ourselves in the opposition”, they are saying.
A similar scenario is also taking place in Meretz, the socialist Left party, who now remains with merely 3 seats in the Knesset. (The Israeli parliament holds 120 seats). Zehava Gal-On, who apparently just lost her place in the Knesset, also wants to see her party “laying a new ideological foundation” in the opposition rows.
It seems that “sitting in the opposition” has become the preferred solution to any parliamentary decline. Indeed, the public gets weary of ruling parties more than he does of opposition parties. And it is much easier to keep your campaign promises when you are not confronted with the fierce pressures of the coalition, which sometimes demand very difficult compromises.
However, I do believe that any political party should at least attempt to enter the coalition, as long as it is able to maintain its core values and to deliver at least some of its promises. It’s all too “easy” to turn away from the heat.
Yes, some parties are too obsessed with being a part of the coalition, willing to sell away their constituency for an overpriced seat by the government table — yet others are all too shy of it. Remember that
Change comes from within.