Likud, Labor, Meretz, Bayit Yehudi, and Balad are the most democratic parties in
Israel and the Tzipi Livni Party is among the least democratic, according to a
study published Sunday by Professor Gideon Rahat, research director of the
Israel Democracy Institute’s political reform project.
the Party Democracy Index, a mechanism that allows voters to evaluate the degree
of internal democracy in the parties. The index assessed each party’s
inclusiveness, representation, competition, accountability, and
The study evaluated to what extent parties involve their
members in choosing their leader, Knesset candidates, and platform. Rahat
checked each party’s participation of women, reserved slots for sectors, the
involvements of its institutions in decision-making, and how easy it is to
obtain the party’s bylaws, history, and details about contributors.
IDI found that there is no connection between the size of the party and the
level of its internal democracy, and parties that exhibit robust internal
democratic processes exist across the political spectrum. IDI president
Arye Carmon said citizens should take into account the party’s level of internal
democracy when deciding for whom to vote.
“Today, the electorate votes
based on who is in the party and not what the party stands for,” Carmon
Besides the Tzipi Livni Party, the parties that fared poorly in the
study included both the Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael factions of United
Torah Judaism, Am Shalem and the United Arab List. Kadima, Shas, and Israel
Beytenu also scored better than Livni’s Party.
MK Meir Sheetrit, who is
fifth on the Livni list, mocked the findings of the study, calling them not
smart. He said a new party could not be expected to already have members,
institutions, and primaries.
“You can’t compare old and new parties,”
Sheetrit said. “It’s like comparing cucumbers and watermelons.”
responded that there were criteria in the study that favored both new and old
He said Sheetrit should not be surprised that a party founded
because its leader lost a primary in another party was not at the top of such a
“I understand why he is upset,” Rahat said. “But we were fair with
the same criteria for all the parties. We did it systematically.”