Truth is, the Left-Center block might do considerably worst than expected in the coming election, due to lost votes.
When a party running for election does no’t reach the 2% (of all legal votes) threshold – which equals 2.4 MKs – that the party doesn’t get a seat in the Knesset, and all it’s votes are then lost. At the moment, the bigger danger is for the left, which might lose as many as 6 MKs due to lost votes.
There are several parties on the left which are at danger: First, there is the Green party. As I wrote here before, due to the split in the environmental movement, there might be two “green” parties running in this election. They might get enough votes for as many as 4 MKs combined, and still not enter the Knesset. We can assume that most of these votes will come from the left.
The Arab party Balad is getting around 2 MKs in Haaretz’s polls (other pollsters don’t specify the way the votes splits between the different Arab parties, and simply refer to them as one “Arab Parties” category in the polls). Azmi Bishara, the leader of Balad, has fled Israel after being accused of aiding the enemy during wartime, passing information on to the enemy and contacting a foreign agent; it’s not clear to what extent Balad will be hurt by his departure. If Balad doesn’t get more than 2% of the votes, that would mean another 2+ MKs are lost on the left side of the map.
Finally, there are two MKs who left Labor and are running in other parties: the first is Efraim Sneh, former Deputy Defense Minister, which has left the Labor on May 2008 and formed a new party called “Israel Hazaka”. The Second is Ami Ayalon, former head of Shin-Beit and commander-in-chief of the Navy, who lost the Labor primaries against Barak. Ayalon joined the moderate religious party “Meimad”. Both Parties won’t come near the 2% threshold, but can cost the left between 0.5 to one MK.
There will probably be one or two extreme-right parties which won’t pass the 2% threshold and will cost the right some votes, but not nearly as many as will be lost on the left. In the 2006 election 182,688 votes, which equal 5.8 %of all legal votes, were given to parties which hadn’t passed the 2% threshold.
It is interesting to note that in the 1992 election, the right wing “Thiya” party was only 6,000 votes short of passing the then 1.5% minimum threshold for entering the Knesset. Had the Thiya entered the Knesset, Rabin couldn’t have formed his left wing government or sign the Oslo agreement, and the entire Middle East history might have been different.