Katz: No presidential system without direct vote for MKs

Israeli Beitenu is seeking full presidential system such as in the United States; Katz insists checks and balances are necessary.

June 9, 2011 01:31
1 minute read.
Yisrael Katz

yisrael katz 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The country cannot adopt a presidential system of government without also initiating direct, regional elections for Knesset members, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who heads a coalition committee on changing the electoral system, said on Monday.

Katz was appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to head the committee, but it has not met recently.

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The committee includes representatives from the six parties in the coalition.

According to Katz, the changes most likely to be made are gradually raising the electoral threshold from the current two percent, requiring a special majority to pass a no-confidence vote, and steps to increase the power of the legislature.

In the previous Knesset, enacting direct, regional elections for half of the 120 lawmakers had the support of some 90 MKs, but it was blocked by Shas. In the current Knesset, it would be opposed by four parties in the coalition: Israel Beiteinu, Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Independence Party.

Israel Beiteinu would prefer to see the adoption of a full presidential system.

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But Katz ruled that out on Monday, saying such a move would necessitate changing how MKs are selected.

“There can’t be a presidential system like there is in the United States without also adopting the American system of selecting representatives,” Katz told The Jerusalem Post. “It would be needed for checks and balances.”

Elaine Levitt, who heads the Citizens Empowerment Public Action Campaign, which advocates for electoral reform, said she was disappointed that the effort to enact direct, regional elections had been abandoned.

“Thousands of people want to be able to select their representatives in the Knesset, but unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a politician who is willing to fulfill

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