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Supporters of electoral reform praise unity deal
By GIL HOFFMAN
05/09/2012
The deal states that the new system will already be in place for the next election.
 
Supporters of changing Israel’s electoral system praised the coalition deal signed by Likud and Kadima Monday for its clause requiring an agreement on how to change the system by the end of the year.

The deal states that the new system will already be in place for the next election.

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz called the clause the deal’s most important component. Borrowing a phrase from the Passover Seder, he said that if the only thing accomplished by Kadima’s joining the coalition would be a change in the electoral system, “dayeinu” (“it would be enough”).

“Changing the current system that sanctifies extortion over governability would impact every future government decision,” Mofaz said at a Knesset press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “For this alone, it was worth making the deal. This will enable stability, governance and the long-term strategic decision-making this country so badly needs.”

Mofaz supports electing half the Knesset via regional elections, enabling the largest party to form a coalition and increasing both the electoral threshold and the number of MKs required to overthrow the government in a no-confidence vote.

Such reforms have the backing of many MKs in Likud, Kadima and Labor, but Shas and Yisrael Beytenu have prevented the changes from passing.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who heads the pro-electoral reform group Yesh Sikkui, praised the coalition deal. His movement vowed to stand guard to make sure the deal’s electoral reform clause will be implemented.

Dagan met Tuesday with Mofaz and promised to help the new unity government to change the government system. During their meeting Dagan presented a bill drafted by his movement, including calls to raise the electoral threshold from 2 percent to 3%, and to reduce the number of ministers to 16.

“I am pleased that Kadima’s entry into the government is based on the condition that the government system will change,” he said.

Elaine Levitt, chairwoman of the Citizens Empowerment Public Action Campaign, expressed hope that the electoral reforms enacted will include regional representation, which she said was what the people of Israel want.

Government Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud) called upon Netanyahu and Mofaz to also enact a constitution for Israel. He warned against changing the system without first passing what he called a bill of rights for citizens.
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