Strategies under a new electoral system: The labor party in the 1996 Israeli elections

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Structural systemic factors, including a tie between the two major political blocs in Israel and the change to direct election of the prime minister, generated an on-line personal campaign, making memory-based retrospective assessment of the positive past performance of Labor and its candidate, Shimon Peres, a lesser electoral issue. The direct elections for the prime minister overshadowed the party and its campaign. Concerns for personal security, raised during the campaign by terrorism, enhanced the electoral chances of the opposition Likud party and its candidate, Binyamin Netanyahu. Emotions became dominant in such symbolic-normative electoral dimensions as religious nationalism and fear. This was apparent in the success of the opposition candidate, Netanyahu, who was against the Oslo peace process, in entering the peace space by calling for a safe peace; he made peace a derivative of security. This undermined the key campaign position issue of incumbent Prime Minister Peres, which made security a derivative of peace. Emotions and terrorism contributed to a negative prospective voter assessment of the peace process and overshadowed retrospective dimensions of performance, state of the economy and leadership. Analysis of campaign-generated issues indicates that election campaigns do make a difference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalParty Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Campaign strategies
  • Electoral systems
  • Israel


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