Note that the lists of candidates and platforms in this table are in Hebrew.
About the 2003 Elections
Soon after being elected to the premiership, Sharon abolished the direct election for Prime Minister, and Israel returned to the familiar system of single-ballot elections. The elections were held in the shadow of the Al Aqsa Intifada, which erupted in the fall of 2000, and exacted an unprecedented price from the citizens of Israel. In 2002 alone, 450 Israelis were killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks. The struggle against terrorism also exacted a heavy economic price, and the economy slowed down.
The broad unity government formed by Sharon in 2001 began to fall apart in 2002. The first to resign was the Ihud HaLeumi-Yisrael Beytenu parliamentary group, followed by Gesher, and in the fall of 2002, the senior partner, the Labor Party, also left the coalition. Prior to the elections two important leadership struggles occurred in both of the largest parties. In the Likud, Binyamin Netanyahu (who had returned from a timeout from political life), competed for the leadership but lost to Prime Minister Sharon. In the Labor Party, Amram Mitzna was elected to head the party after beating Binyamin Ben Eliezer and Haim Ramon.
Twenty-seven lists ran in the elections, 13 of which entered the Knesset. Despite the precarious security situation and the economic recession, Prime Minister Sharon enjoyed widespread popularity. He led the Likud to win 38 seats, and together with Yisrael B’Aliya, which had merged with the Likud after the elections, the Likud controlled a third of the Knesset seats. The left-wing Zionist parties suffered a heavy blow. After more than two years of Intifada, many people felt that the Oslo process had exhausted itself, and that there was no partner for peace. The Labor Party declined to 19 seats, while Meretz received only six seats. Many of those disappointed with the left moved to the center of the political map, and voted for Shinui, which undertook to act for the formation of a secular government. Shinui was extremely successful and became the third largest party, with 15 seats. There was a decline in the power of the religious parties due to the weakening of Shas (from 17 to 11 seats), and the Arab parties declined from 10 to eight seats. The government that was formed after the elections rested on a coalition of four Parliamentary Groups: Likud, Shinui, the NRP and HaIhud-HaLeumi-Yisrael Beytenu. Together these parliamentary groups provided the government with a majority of 68 MKs.
Asher Arian and Michal Shamir (eds.), The Elections in Israel 2003, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2005.
Shmuel Sandler, M. Ben Mollov and Jonathan Rynhold (eds.), Israel at the Polls 2003, London: Routledge, 2005.
Reuven Y. Hazan and Abraham Diskin, "The Parliamentary Elections in Israel 2003", Electoral Studies 23 (2) (2004), pp. 353-360.
Ofer Kenig, "The 2003 Elections in Israel: Has the Return to the 'Old' System Reduced Party System Fragmentation?", Israel Affairs 11 (3) (2005), pp. 552-566.
Elections for the 16th Knesset
Number Eligible Voters
|Party||Votes Count||Number Of Seats||Share Of Votes||List Of Candidates||Platform|
|Labor Party||455,183||19 *||14.5||Candidates||Platform|
|United Torah Judaism||135,087||5||4.3||Candidates|
|National Religious Party||132,370||6||4.2||Candidates|
|Progressive National Alliance||20,571||-||0.7||Candidates|
|Citizen and State||1,566||-||0.0||Candidates|
|Men's Rights in the Family (Ra-ash)||1,284||-||0.0||Candidates|
|Social Justice (Za'am)||894||-||0.0||Candidates|