An IDF soldier votes in Ashdod 370.
(photo credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen)
The law dealing with surplus votes – meaning, those given to parties that don’t
pass the threshold or those a party receives that don’t make up the number
needed for a Knesset seat – is called the Bader- Ofer Law after Gahal MK Yohanan
Bader and Alignment MK Avraham Ofer, who proposed it in 1973.
polls close at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, all eligible votes are counted. The threshold
for a party to enter the Knesset is 2 percent of eligible votes, which in 2009
The number is expected to be higher this year, as more
citizens are able to vote.
Then, the number of eligible votes for each
party that passed the threshold is counted.
As such, votes for parties
that do not pass the threshold do not count in the allocation of Knesset
For the other parties, the number of eligible votes is divided by
120 to calculate the general gauge of seats, and then each party’s votes are
divided by the gauge. The parties’ seats added together are usually less than
120, and the extra seats are given out in the second and third
Next, surplus vote agreements are taken into
Essentially, the two parties’ votes are added together,
and are redivided in proportion to the number of seats they have in the general
gauge. The larger party usually gets the extra seat from the agreement, but
neither party loses a seat.
The parties making sparevote agreements are
Labor with Yesh Atid, United Torah Judaism with Shas, Balad with Hadash, Bayit
Yehudi with Likud Beytenu, The Tzipi Livni Party with Meretz, Kadima with Am
Shalem, and Dor with Social Justice. Agreements signed with parties that do not
pass the threshold are meaningless after the election.
Hagenbach-Bischoff system used in Israel is named after Swiss physicist and
electoral reformer Eduard Hagenbach- Bischoff (1833-1910), who allocated seats
in partylist proportional representation.
It is used in Belgium and
Switzerland, and Luxembourg uses it to allocate seats to the European Union.