Legislation on electoral reform gathers pace

A bill proposing a consensus of reforms on how to change the electoral system is meant to pass the Knesset Law Committee en route to the plenum before June.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 15, 2007 23:38
1 minute read.
soldier voting

soldier voting 298 88 ap. (photo credit: AP)

A bill proposing a consensus of reforms on how to change the electoral system will pass the Knesset Law Committee en route to the plenum before Pessah, committee chairman Menahem Ben-Sasson said on Thursday. Ben-Sasson said his committee was passing a series of reforms, one by one. He said the coalition leadership would decide within two weeks whether to adopt his recommendation to vote on the reforms in one package in the Knesset plenum when the Knesset returns from its Pessah vacation at the start of May. The first major reform, the adoption of the so-called Norwegian Law, is expected to pass in the committee next week. The law would make ministers and deputy ministers quit the Knesset automatically upon their appointment and return if they leave their post. The next items of the committee's agenda will be raising the minimum threshold for parties to enter the Knesset, making the head of the largest faction automatically become prime minister, and finally whether some MKs should be elected regionally. Ben-Sasson said he also hopes to tackle smaller electoral reforms like formalizing the office of vice prime minister and setting rules on deputy ministers. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert endorsed Ben-Sasson's efforts to pass such reforms in last week's Kadima faction meeting when he said there must be more accountability in the electoral system, using the English word that lacks a commonly used Hebrew translation. The law committee meets at least once a day, five days a week at a breakneck pace to deliberate on the electoral reforms, draft a proposal for a constitution and handle the everyday responsibilities of advancing legislation. Members of the committee described the work as a "full-time job" even without attending sessions of other committees and the Knesset plenum.


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