Electoral reforms to pass hurdle Wednesday

Likud cautions votes not final, will not be passed as law since legislation can change completely ahead of final readings.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 30, 2013 22:13
2 minute read.
Israeli government at the Knesset, April 22, 2013.

Cabinet standing up Knesset 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Knesset plenum is expected to pass a series of electoral reforms Wednesday that could have a significant impact on how elections and the parliament are run in the future.

But Likud sources cautioned that Wednesday's votes are not the final readings of the electoral reform bills and therefore will not pass them into law. They said the legislation could be changed completely before their final readings, which will not take place until November at the earliest.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman had tried to expedite the bills and pass them into law before the Knesset begins its extended summer recess on Thursday. But opposition MKs protested and filibustered and insisted on proper deliberations, preventing Liberman from having his way.

The legislation is divided into two bills, one that changes Basic Laws that are the fore-runner to a constitution and the other that affects Basic Laws but does not change them. Because legislation changing or affecting Basic Laws require 61 MKs to pass, neither bill will be voted on until Justice Minister Tzipi Livni returns from the United States Wednesday afternoon.

The bill changing the Basic Law would limit the number of ministers to nine, deputy ministers to four and no-confidence motions to once a month. The other bill would make it harder for factions to break up and would raise the electoral threshold from two to four percent.

At a meeting of the Knesset Law Committee on Sunday, MKs in Arab parties complained that if the threshold is raised that high, none of the Arab parties would pass the threshold. Hebrew University political science professor Avraham Diskin warned in the meeting of a massive increase beyond the already problematic seven percent of votes cast in January's election that went to parties that did not pass the threshold.

But Likud officials said there would be plenty of time to re-evaluate whether to raise the threshold and by how much before it comes to a final vote. Between now and then, coalition chairman Yariv Levin will head a committee that will examine whether there is enough support to take such a step.



Ha'aretz reported Tuesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told opposition MKs Monday night that he is against raising the threshold. Levin, who participated in the meeting, refuted the report.

"He did not say he opposes it," Levin said. "He just said it requires deep examination."

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN