The press reports that 43 parties are registered to run in Israel’s February 10, 2009 Knesset elections. This absurd phenomenon is the direct consequence of Israel’s (divisive) parliamentary electoral system.
As I have frequently pointed out, Israel, contrary almost all other reputed democracies, makes the country a single electoral district in which a multiplicity of party slates compete for Knesset seats on the basis Proportional Representation. This multiplicity of parties is compounded by Israel’s low electoral threshold, now 2%.
Although the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy prefers personal and direct election of Knesset members, the very least the next Knesset can do is to raise the electoral threshold, say to 4%. This would effectively eliminate most parties and compel others to run on a joint list.
A 4% threshold—once proposed by the late MK Rehavim Ze’evi—would probably lead to four party coalitions: a left-center coalition, a right-center coalition, a religious coalition, and an Arab coalition. Running on a joint list would tend to enlarge the mentality of each of the parties composing a coalition, since they would have to campaign on a common party platform. » Continue reading “The February Knesset Elections”