A united Arab party will bring about a record 15 MKs in the next Knesset following Tuesday’s expected passage of the government’s electoral reform plan, MK Ahmed Tibi predicted Sunday.
For many years Tibi (UALTa’al) has been trying to get Arab MKs to unite in one party, in order to maximize the potential of the sector’s voting bloc. The three Arab parties currently have 11 seats, but none of the factions have more than four MKs.
The electoral bill, which has been pushed by Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, would raise the electoral threshold from 2 to 3.25 percent, which would likely result in the Knesset’s smallest faction going up from two to four MKs.
“It is wrong to unite because of Liberman,” Hadash leader Muhammad Barakei said. “He wants to paint our three different parties with one brush.”
Barakei backed off from his threat to have all the MKs in Hadash, Balad and UAL-Ta’al resign to protest the passage of the electoral reforms. But said that he would not let Arab MKs be mere “decorations” in the Knesset.
According to the bill, the number of ministers would be limited to 19, none of whom will be ministers-without- portfolio, and there will be no more than four deputy ministers. But due to a loophole in the bill, a coalition with 70 MKs could vote to add additional ministers.
Ministers will be in charge of only one ministry. Instead of weekly motions of no confidence in the government, they will be monthly, and the prime minister will have to be present.
Factions will continue to be able to be split if a third of its MKs want to leave. But a law that required only seven MKs to split factions with more than 21 legislators will be repealed.