With the 21st Knesset now history – with a very short history of its own – preparations are underway for elections to the 22nd Knesset, a venture that is expected to cost the state over NIS 450 million in direct costs – including grants and loans to parties and costs for manpower to prepare for and execute the elections. That sum does not include losses to the economy due to another day off, as the law requires in the case of national elections.
In addition, much of the preparation for the election will take place in August and early September – with the former the country’s traditional month for summer vacation, and the latter this year during the month of Elul, when yeshivos return from bein hazmanim and everyone else begins preparations for the Yamim Nora’im.
As of now, the election is set for September 17 (17 Elul). As far as the candidates and parties are concerned, the election is an open slate – and any party that wants to run again must go through the vetting process for that, regardless of their previous preparation. State workers who want to run need to resign their posts 100 days before the election, which based on the current date would be June 9 – a Sunday, which happens to be Shavuos. It’s not clear if the law allows for that date to be moved, and if it cannot, the deadline for those who want to run for office would be next Thursday, June 6.
Parties that do want to run have to gather petitions and submit them to the Central Elections Committee, the deadline for which will be August 1. Those who want to petition against a party’s participation will have until a week later, August 8, to do so. Public broadcasts of ads by parties in electronic media begins two weeks before the election, so those ads will begin on September 3rd.
The first Israelis to vote are sailors and diplomats; those votes begin on September 5. Twelve days later, the country will vote – with an official day off. The official results will be declared on September 24, after all votes of soldiers, diplomats abroad, hospital patients and prisoners are counted.
All this will take place in the shadow of the upcoming hearing for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the corruption cases he is accused of being complicit in. That hearing is set to begin on October 2 – the day after Rosh Hashanah. Officials in the State Prosecutors Office Thursday said that there was “no reason” to postpone the hearing, as it was taking place after the election anyway.