Tuesday, April 11th 2023
Doron tasked with forming a new government in Israel after inconclusive election
Tel Aviv —
Incumbent prime minister Gilad Doron has been given the task to form a new government, two weeks after an election that leaves no easy path to a majority in the Knesset, the country's legislature.
President Mazar Doran, after consulting with the leaders of all 11 parties that won seats to the 120-member Knesset, gave Doron, as leader of the largest party (the right-wing Likud) the first crack at forming a government that can command the confidence of at least 61 members of the Knesset. Doron, who has led Israel since his predecessor Efraim Zahavy was rendered comatose by a stroke in October 2018, was forced to call an early election after his government collapsed following the Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
The Golan withdrawal resulted in a fracturing in the "national camp" of secular nationalists and religious Zionists, with the former largely accepting the Ankara Agreement and the three-state solution that ended decades of conflict between Israelis, Palestinians and several of Israel's Arab neighbors. In contrast, prior to the Golan withdrawal, the religious Zionist movement had been opposed to the Ankara framework, believing that the surrender of parts of the Holy Land to non-Israeli control was a violation of the Torah (specifically God's promise of the Holy Land to Abraham and his descendants), but were placated by the Ankara Agreement's allowance on free movement for citizens within the three resulting states (Israel, Palestine and Jerusalem).
Golan, which Israeli forces captured from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967, however, been effectively ceded back to Syria, which is not party to the agreement's strictures on free movement. The announcement of the withdrawal from Golan, which under international law was illegally-occupied Syrian territory, sparked an exodus of religious Zionist parties from the government. The government and the withdrawal were saved by a confidence-and-supply agreement reached with other parties until the final Israeli troops withdrew in December 2022.
In the newly-elected Knesset, conservative parties supporting the withdrawal won 38 seats, while three religious Zionist parties and one secular anti-withdrawal party (the newly-created Yisrael Chazak) combined for 35. Two centrist parties whose support was vital in keeping the withdrawal to continue, Hosen and Kadima won a combined 40 seats.
Should Doron fail to form a government that can win the confidence of a majority (61 members) of the Knesset by May 9, Hosen leader Shaul Cohen will be given the mandate to try and form a new government. If Cohen cannot form a government, Israeli voters will return to the polls for new elections.
Tuesday, 11 April 2023
IMF forecast throws cold water on Conservative "Britain's Working" ads
A forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released just days after the governing Conservative Party launched an ad campaign titled "Britain's Working" that the party claims highlights the party's "sound economic stewardship" has resulted in fodder for comedians and the opposition parties.
While the party, gearing up for a general election, touted Britain's economic success under their leadership, the IMF reports that it projects Britain to have the worst economic performance of any of the so-called G20 countries (the twenty nations with the world's largest economies) in 2023. It predicts that the British economy will slightly shrink from its 2022 level, with the group blaming soaring interest rates and the country's highly-privatized energy sector being much more susceptible to price hikes than other developed nations'.
"Our nation's economy is on the path for continued growth," Chancellor of the Exchequer Kevin Grimes said in a statement. "Our country's forecast has been revised upwards multiple times by the IMF since earlier this year, and we will see an increase in domestic purchasing power as energy prices stabilize in the summer months."
Labour shadow chancellor Patrick Brazil, however, said that the report showed "just how far behind we lag on the global stage."
"My counterpart in the government seems to think that, after 13 years of Conservative rule, being dead last in economic growth means we are due for a turnaround," Brazil said. "I couldn't agree more, but we differ on how we turn things about. He thinks this forecast means his government deserves another go. As for me, well..."
As of press time, the Conservatives have not pulled the "Britain's Working" ads, but a spokeswoman said that the party would be "reevaluating the messaging" around the party's economic governance.