The brain haemorrhage that affected Ariel Sharon plunged Israel’s politics into agitation. The outgoing Prime Minister was being presented as the winner of the coming elections leading his new party, Kadima. It was Sharon who made the party popular by seducing the right for his nationalism and the left for the security strategy that included the withdrawal from Gaza. Sharon was the perfect centrist candidate, half dove, half hawk.
However, his disappearance does not mean Kadima will lose the elections. The party will lose voters without Sharon but it will win others thanks to the sympathy inspired by his death. Besides, this party is still directed by an impressive triumvirate: Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres and Shaul Mofaz. Discussions among the three men will be hard without Sharon but they can take Kadima to victory. In addition, its adversaries’ positions are too extremist to gain the centrist electorate. Labourists should be second and ally with Kadima. Netanyahu should keep an extremely rightist position to consolidate his control in the Likud and he will be able to return to the centre once his position is stabilized, but not in the short term.
Sharon manufactured a new national consensus based on pragmatism and such consensus can survive without him.

Korea Herald (South Korea)

Ariel Sharon’s triumph” by Barry Rubin, Korea Herald, January 9, 2006.