Electoral reform frozen

Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem canceled eight special meetings on his electoral reform bills on Thursday following pressure he received from the Prime Minister’s Office.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 12, 2013 23:19
1 minute read.
A Tel Aviv man votes with his dog

A Tel Aviv man votes with his dog 370. (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem canceled eight special meetings on his electoral reform bills on Thursday following pressure he received from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Rotem wrote the members of his committee last month that they would hold the meetings during the Knesset’s extended summer recess in order to expedite the passage of the bills. The first special meeting was expected to take place next week.

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But following the intervention of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, there will be no deliberations on the bills until the Knesset returns to session on October 13.

“When the Prime Minister’s Office asks me to do something, I agree,” Rotem said.

“But the bills will still pass into law by the end of November.”

The opposition had asked Netanyahu to prevent Rotem from holding the meetings and the prime minister initially agreed. But Netanyahu decided against it when the opposition did not abide by its part of the deal and filibustered in deliberations on the state budget. Nevertheless, Netanyahu relented and his office called Rotem on Thursday.

The first bill, which passed its first reading by a vote of 63 to 46 on July 31, would limit the number of cabinet ministers to nine, deputy ministers to four and no-confidence motions to once a month.

The second bill, which passed by a 64 to 49 vote with one abstention, would make it harder for Knesset factions to break up and would raise the electoral threshold from 2 to 4 percent.


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