Chronicles of the Comeback that Was and the One that Almost Was
WithShlomit Barnea
Pages 20

In many ways, the 2009 election in Israel was the "comeback election," an election that produced an all-time national record of legislative and ministerial comebacks, and one which confronted two aspiring comebackers—Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak—in the premiership race. The occupation of former leaders after their departure from office may have a significant effect on their comeback decision, route, and result. In a climate which favors "politics without politicians"—a public that loves to hate its politicians—the disassociation of an aspiring comebacker from the taint of professional politics can serve as an asset. The Israeli constitutional system is characterized by a relative openness, which is conducive to the comeback. It has minimal eligibility requirements for candidates and no limits on candidacy or holding office often characteristic of presidential systems. Institutional-legal provisions had little impact on Netanyahu and Barak. In the former case, a provision in the Direct Election Law could have prevented him from running in the 2001 special election.