Party strength in Yisrael

Party strength in Yisrael refers to the level of representation of the various political parties of the Kingdom of Yisrael in each District-wide elective office providing legislators to the District and to the Royal Knesset and electing the executives at the District (District governor) and national (Presidential) level.

History

Political parties formally came into existence in the first years of the 1920 Constitution after the absolute monarchy was overthrown in the 1919 Revolution. Pre-revolutionary factions both favoring a modern, less-religious, constitutional monarchy and opposing such a vision manifested themselves into the Constitutional Liberal Party and the Royalist Conservative Party, respectively.

Party systems

The First Party System (1922-1941) emerged after the establishment of a constitutional order and the first general elections in 1922. The constitutional liberal victors of the 1919 revolution organized themselves into a powerful political organization, supported implicitly by the new modernizing monarch and the "spirit of 1919" over much of the populace. The defeated supporters of the fallen absolute monarchy and other political, religious, and other reactionaries unified into a single, albeit infighting-ridden platform.

The Constitutional Liberals won the newly-created presidency and solid majorities in the Knesset. They also won a slew of newly-created or electorally reformed District and local offices. Between the early-to-late 1920s, the "Con-Libs," as they quickly became known colloquially, dominated national and provincial politics to such an extent that many seats where the Con-Libs nominated a candidate were considered tantamount to election. The Royalist Conservatives were left to rural and outer-city jurisdictions and religious enclaves. As the two majority parties struggled to figure out the emerging two-party system, a number of more radical parties in the fringes erupted onto the urban scene, carving out a niche of non-mainstream ideologies and political dissent and agitation.

However, by 1926, the Con-Libs began to face voter backlash at the local level, later leading to moderate losses of its overwhelming Knesset majority in the 1928 midterms to a new, more narrow margin of control. In 1930, the Conservatives won the presidency and a razor-thin majority in the Knesset.

The 1930s saw the see-sawing of the Knesset and presidency between the Con-Libs and Conservatives, battling over foreign-policy disagreements such as the 1932 installation of the Yisraeli protectorate over Gran Aligonia, the Empire of Yisrael policy, and relations with Sydalon as well as new domestic issues, such as the limits of secular expression in a constitutionally-mandated religious society, the political power of the monarch after the limits of 1920, and the centralizing power of the Government of Yisrael.

This era of politics ended with the eruption of the Third West Scipian War in 1941.

The Second Party System (1951-1974) revived the two-party stystem that had lay dormant in the 1940s during the authoritarian single-party-state of the Autocracy era. The Constitutionalists, who won the three-way civil war in 1951 known as the Year of Blood, reconstituted the the two major parties, though the Conservatives were noticeably weaker as many of its members and supporters had joined or supported the Autocracy regime during the Long Pause. In addition, the moderate-liberal victory brought about a more politically relaxed attitude towards left-wing third-parties that were not associated with the leftist bloc during the civil war.

The old electoral bastions had shifted in many areas; the old rural strongholds of the right-wing Blues had been resettled by left-leaning urban liberals who sought to reclaim the agricultural lifestyle of the 1950s-era labor movement as well as a number of more conservative-aligned Yisraelis who moved for better employment to the cities during the reconstruction in the early 1950s. The Con-Libs subsequently performed well across a large swath of the countryside and parts of the largest cities and industrial areas, while the Conservatives fared better in the inner-suburbs and exurbs of the cities as well as more insular rural regions towards Yisrael's borders and coasts.

The 1950s and early 1960s saw the Con-Libs and their third-party liberal-left allies dominate the presidency and Knesset, but the Conservatives tended to do better in the District and local level. This coincided with a large national political project of devolution and decentralization of the Royal Government in Yerushalayim under the Con-Lib majorities as a backlash towards the centralist tendencies of the Autocracy era; favoring the Blues with increased political power in many areas of government closer to the people. The creation of an electoral college skewed the presidential contests towards the Con-Libs, who were more geographically prevalent across the Districts than the Blues were.

The Conservatives returned to national power briefly in the mid-1960s during the Fourth West Scipian War, but were ousted in 1966 during the debate over the Yarden peace process. The Con-Libs held strong majorities in the Knesset and District legislatures at the end of the 1960s, before the Conservatives made major gains in the 1970 midterms due to opposition to the peace process. Con-Lib President Boaz Benayoun, the initiator of the peace process, won re-elected somewhat comfortably in 1972, but the public souring on the Yarden efforts and an early 1970s recession due to the Jean Succession Crisis cost the political left its credibility. Post-Yarden, the Conservatives won back the presidency and Knesset in back-to-back realignment elections in 1974 and 1976, ending the Second Party System.

The Third Party System (1974-2019) is the recent most party system, which was characterized by the Conservatives dominating national politics for much of the next four decades, as Yisraeli society shifted rightward economically, politically, and religiously in the post-Yarden era. The Conservatives controlled the presidency and Knesset from the mid-1970s until to the early 1990s, when a handful of moderate triangulating Con-Libs (such as Eitan Herzog) won the presidency with single terms and narrow Knesset majorities for all or parts of their tenure between the 1990s and late 2000s.

During this era, there were large-scale dismantling of the centralized state-oriented economic regime erected in the 1950s and 1960s, with a wave of privatizations, deregulation, and a more strict and unrelenting attitude towards religious laxity. The Con-Libs, rejecting the changes in Yisraeli society towards a more religious and conservative center of gravity, doubled-down on the Chilonim, even as the share of the Chiloni sectors started to decline in favor of the growing Dati (religious) sectors.

The momentum swung back towards the Blues in the late 2000s and early 2010s, seeing a fusion of political and religious conservatism, commonly called neoconservatism under Noah Feldman. Some of this shift was evidenced by the New Chareidi clique in the major third-party Torah Achdus party, which broke with the transactional, non-ideological, benefits-first ethos of the party's elders in favor of aligning closer with their natural ideological allies on the political right-wing on the cusp of the 2010s.

Many political historians and analysts have called the 2020 election another realignment wave and have begun to refer to contemporary politics as being in the Fourth Party System (2019 - present), with the collapse of the Constitutional Liberal Party into third-party status and its replacement by the Alternative for Yisrael-led United Center Bloc in the so-called "Centrist Revolt" of 2019-20 as the main competitor to the ruling right-wing Conservatives.

Current party strength

Table of Yisraeli District party statistics as of February 2020

See also