Report: Likud seeks to lower electoral threshold after Bayit Yehudi split

If a right-wing party drops below the threshold, the Right would lose tens of thousands of votes and could lose its parliamentary majority.

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December 30, 2018 10:42
1 minute read.

Bennet and Shaked announce a new right-wing party, December 30, 2018 (Courtesy)

Bennet and Shaked announce a new right-wing party, December 30, 2018 (Courtesy)

 
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The Likud is seeking to lower the electoral threshold from its current 3.25% after the split in Bayit Yehudi, Hadashot News reported Sunday.

A party spokesman was unable to confirm or deny the report.

With the current threshold, parties would, in most cases, need four seats in order to enter the Knesset, though there is a statistical possibility of getting in with three seats.

If a right-wing party drops below the threshold, the Right would lose tens of thousands of votes and could lose its parliamentary majority.

Shas and Yisrael Beytenu have long hovered close to the threshold, with recent polls giving them five seats. Now, after Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked broke off from Bayit Yehudi to form Hayamin Hehadash (The New Right), those two parties may also find passing the threshold a challenge.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried lowering the threshold more than once in recent years, but Shas and Yisrael Beytenu’s leadership rebuffed him. Last week, Deri expressed confidence that his party would easily pass the threshold.


In addition to a lack of enthusiasm from his coalition, Netanyahu may face a parliamentary problem on the way to lowering the threshold.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Knesset is set to convene to vote on bills that the coalition and opposition support. However, the opposition said Sunday that they will not support lowering the threshold.

Opposition whip and Zionist Union faction chairman Yoel Hasson said “the Likud’s attempt to lower the electoral threshold is another hysterical move by a prime minister who’s afraid of losing. We oppose this move and will not allow this bill to be brought up in the plenum.”

Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg, whose party would likely be the greatest beneficiary in the opposition of raising the threshold, also opposed the change.

“Meretz will not be a tool of the terrified Right and will not lend a hand for the Likud’s whims to change the rules of the elections and democracy over and over according to their fears,” Zandberg said. “If the Likud thought they could rely on Meretz, they should think again.”

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