Opposition MKs protested raising the electoral threshold and limiting
no-confidence votes as the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee
continued debating electoral reform Monday.
According to opposition MKs,
the meeting should not have taken place during the Knesset’s recess, which ends
in two weeks, and they managed to divert the discussion from the planned topic –
limiting the number of ministers to 19 – to the articles of the bill that
bothered them most.
MK Michal Roisin (Meretz) accused Committee chairman
David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) of breaking an agreement between Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and the opposition since the night the electoral reform bill
passed in its first reading in July.
At the time, Netanyahu told the
opposition that if they do not filibuster the bill or stop the debate earlier
than planned, there would be deeper discussion of electoral reform, which
wouldn’t be brought to a final vote until November.
Rotem pointed out
that the opposition continued speaking out against electoral reform for hours
after the agreement was reached, and Roisin accused him of never planning to
respect the deal in the first place.
“We’re having a meeting today and a
series of deep discussions, so what [is the opposition] complaining about?” MK
Ronen Hoffman, who proposed Yesh Atid’s version of the bill,
Meanwhile, opposition MKs focused on the planned electoral-
threshold increase from two percent to 4 and the limitation of no-confidence
motions to once a month.
“This proposal is a terrorist attack on the
democratic system,” MK Dov Henin (Hadash) said. “It’s meant to give power to a
minority clique and harm the rule of the majority.”
MK Ahmed Tibi
(UAL-Ta’al) said Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytenu are raising the electoral
threshold to make Arab parties disappear.
“Politics are like a
wheel. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. I suggest you be more
modest,” Tibi told the Yesh Atid MKs. “You may need a low electoral threshold
According to MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi), “the bill is not
democratic and silences minority groups.”
Roisin suggested that
minorities be exempt from the electoral threshold.
As for limiting
no-confidence motions to once a month, MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) said that ministers
will be alienated and keep their distance from the Knesset if the bill
“Ministers want to get out of showing up to the Knesset,” Maklev
MK Moshe Mizrahi (Labor) wondered why the government cares so
much about noconfidence votes.
“What is the point, if not to silence the
opposition? Did any government fall apart because of no-confidence votes?”
“Yes, in 1990,” Rotem retorted, in reference to the
incident known as the “Stinky Deal,” led by then-minister Shimon
Labor MK Miki Rosenthal said he understands that noconfidence
votes lose their effectiveness when overused, but that they cannot be taken away
without giving an alternative.
“I’m a new MK, but I know that
no-confidence votes are a fiction. People aren’t interested in them and they
don’t make sense,” MK Karin Alharrar (Yesh Atid) stated.
At the end of
the meeting, Rotem announced that the discussions will resume next week instead
of Tuesday, as originally planned, because the opposition plans to continue
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