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.
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
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
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