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Knesset (Parliament)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Last elections module

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Knesset / Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 17 March 2015
Purpose of elections Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party remained the largest force, winning 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset. The Zionist Union - established in December 2014 by the Labour Party and Hatenua and led by outgoing Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog and former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni - came in second with 24 seats. Due mainly to the higher threshold required to win seats in the 2015 elections, four Arab parties ran together as the Joint List and became the third largest force with 13 seats (see note). A record 29 women were elected, up from 27. On 25 March, President Reuven Rivlin tasked Mr. Netanyahu with forming a new government, stating "only a unity government can prevent the rapid disintegration of Israel's democracy". On 6 May, Mr. Netanyahu presented a new coalition government comprising Likud, Kulanu, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), Shas and the United Torah Judaism (Yahadut Hatorah), undertaking his fourth mandate as Prime Minister.

The 2015 elections - the second snap polls in two years - were triggered by the collapse of the previous coalition government following the dismissal in December 2014 of Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Justice Minister Livni (Hatnua). They had opposed the budget proposal (which foresaw an increase in defence spending) and a bill declaring Israel a nation-state of the Jewish people. The Ministers argued that the bill would harm the rights of the country's Arab and minority populations, while the Prime Minister said it would guarantee equal rights for citizens "regardless of religion, race or nationality". During the election campaign, the major parties focused on Palestine, settlement in the Occupied Territories and Iran's nuclear program.

In March 2014, the Knesset passed a "Governance Law" that raised the threshold required for political parties to win parliamentary representation from 2 to 3.25% of total votes cast. The Labour Party, Meretz and the United Arab List -Ta'al opposed the bill and argued that it would undermine Israeli's democracy and pluralism in the Knesset. The primary initiators of the bill - Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Likud) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) - noted that thresholds in other countries were much higher. In the 2015 elections, the Joint List comprised Hadash, the National Democratic Alliance (Balad), the United Arab List and Ta'al. In the 2013 elections, each party submitted candidates separately and won a total of 11 seats.
Date of previous elections: 22 January 2013

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 8 December 2014

Timing of election: Early elections

Expected date of next elections: March 2019

Number of seats at stake: 120 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 1,297

Percentage of women candidates: Not available

Number of parties contesting the election: 25

Number of parties winning seats: 10

Alternation of power: No

Number of parties in government: 5

Names of parties in government: Likud, Kulanu, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), Shas and the United Torah Judaism (Yahadut Hatorah)

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 31 March 2015.

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud)
Voter turnout
Round no 117 March 2015
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
4'254'738 (72.34%)

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Zionist Union
Joint List
Yesh Atid (There Is a Future)
Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home)
Yisrael Beiteinu
United Torah Judaism (Yahadut Hatorah)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
Likud 30
Zionist Union 24
Joint List 13
Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) 11
Kulanu 10
Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) 8
Shas 7
Yisrael Beiteinu 6
United Torah Judaism (Yahadut Hatorah) 6
Meretz 5
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Parliament (12.04.2015, 02.09.2015, 29.10.2015, 29.11.2015, 01.01.2017)

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