(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Likud faction in the Knesset on Monday that he is considering pushing for Israel having a presidential system of government in order to make it less difficult to govern.
The faction discussed what electoral reforms could be made to encourage stability following a question to Netanyahu by Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely. The prime minister replied that a presidential system could prevent the current problem of midsized parties having too much power.
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin said several electoral reform options were discussed at the closed-door meeting, including automatically making the leader of the largest party prime minister. Yisrael Beytenu has supported a presidential system for years.
When asked about Netanyahu’s support for a presidential system, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said, “I have no words.”
At Lapid’s initiative, the Knesset passed an extensive electoral reform package into law in March. It will only be implemented with the next election.
This law raised the electoral threshold from 2 to 3.25 percent. The smallest faction in the next Knesset will have at least four MKs, up from the current two.
The law limits the number of ministers 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 only be permitted to be in charge of 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 But a law that required only seven MKs to split factions with more than 21 legislators will be repealed.