Israeli voting system fosters pluralism but instability

2015-03-17 14:20
An Israeli woman carries her baby as she casts her vote at a polling station in Tel Aviv. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

An Israeli woman carries her baby as she casts her vote at a polling station in Tel Aviv. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israel uses a proportional voting system that fosters pluralism but has also led to repeated failures to form stable government coalitions.

Instead of electing individual members of the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, voters choose party lists, with seats distributed according to the percentage of the vote received.

Parties are only eligible for seats if they pass a threshold, which was raised last year from 2% to 3.25%.

That move was slammed by the opposition as an attempt to force Arab parties out of parliament, but it instead saw them join forces in a united list.

In Tuesday's election to choose the country's 20th Knesset, 5 881 696 million citizens are eligible to vote.

There will be 10 372 polling stations nationwide.

There are 25 lists battling it out for seats, reflecting the country's diverse political map, but opinion polls predict that only 11 are expected to enter parliament.

After official results are announced, President Reuven Rivlin will have seven days to entrust forming the next government to a party leader who says he or she is ready to do so.

The leader then has 28 days to build a coalition, but Rivlin can extend the deadline by another 14 days if necessary.

If a coalition still fails to emerge, he can assign another party leader to the task, again with a 28-day deadline.

If this bid fails as well, Rivlin can then assign the task to a third person. But if the person chosen is unable to form a government within 14 days then the president calls a new election.

In general, the leader whose party wins the most votes is tasked with forming a coalition, but this is not mandatory.

No party in Israel has ever been able to secure the necessary 61-seat majority to rule alone.

Twice, in 1996 and 1999 Israelis voted directly for a prime minister as well as for a party list. In 2001, a special prime ministerial election was also held after then-Labour premier Ehud Barak was unable to win the Knesset's support.

Creating a coalition can be painstaking, as the leading party must accommodate different parties demanding portfolios in the new cabinet, each with its own agenda.

This is the main source of instability in most Israeli governments, and just six of the past 19 parliaments have been able to complete their four-year mandate.

Read more on:    israel  |  israel elections 2015

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.