A woman votes in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
When the Israeli electorate go to the polls, they are asked to choose the one party among the many competing – usually 20 or more – with whose policies they most agree. This system has been described as “one of the purest forms of proportional rule” since the number of seats that each party in the Knesset gains is almost exactly proportional to the number of votes the party obtains in the general election. The downside is that inevitably the nation’s vote is fractured. With every shade of political opinion represented by Knesset seats, no one party can emerge as the outright winner. After each election, weeks are spent in backroom negotiations and deals as the party with the most votes attempts to gain sufficient support from others to command a majority in the Knesset.
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