New bill would allow MKs to vote remotely

MKs will be able to vote from outside of the Knesset if Yesh Atid lawmaker Yifat Kariv's new bill passes.

August 5, 2013 17:30
1 minute read.
Yifat Kariv.

Yifat Kariv 370. (photo credit: courtesy knesset)


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MKs will be able to vote from home if Yesh Atid lawmaker Yifat Kariv’s new bill passes.

Kariv submitted legislation this week to allow lawmakers to vote from outside of the Knesset if they are on maternity leave, are hospitalized, had a recent death in the family, or in other special circumstances with special permission from the Knesset Speaker and Knesset House Committee.

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“The purpose of the bill is to set fair rules within the democratic framework,” Kariv explained. “It cannot be that an MK who is absent for a justified reason will be used as a political bargaining chip. It’s immoral, unfair, and has a simple solution.”

Offsetting – or kizuzim – is a common practice in the Knesset whereby an MK in the coalition or opposition will skip a vote to counteract the absence of a lawmaker on the other side. Legislators use this practice for myriad reasons, ranging from ideological stances to health to family weddings and other events.

The Yesh Atid MK wrote the bill after opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) refused to allow her party’s legislators to offset MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who was on maternity leave, as part of a Labor no-offsetting policy for budget votes.

Kariv said Yacimovich’s decision – which was met with criticism within and out of Labor – showed a lack of moral judgment and pointed out a lacuna in the existing law.

“Today’s technology allows an MK who is not physically present in the plenum to take part in the discussion and make his or her voice heard and take part in votes. I think this should be regulated by law, so the tradition of offsetting will not be used as a pressure point,” Kariv said.

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