Knesset bill to create incentive for parties to hold primaries

The Knesset plenum  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Knesset plenum
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Parties that hold primaries will receive more government funding before elections if the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approves a bill to that effect on Sunday.
The bill was proposed by three MKs from parties that hold primaries in which all of their members can participate – MK Omer Bar-Lev of Labor (Zionist Union), MK David Bitan of the Likud, and MK Nissan Slomiansky of Bayit Yehudi – who say they want to encourage other parties to be more democratic.
“A gap has been created between parties that hold democratic processes and those that don’t,” the bill’s explanatory section reads.
“The existing law hurts parties that hold democratic processes and puts them in a poorer economic and regulatory situation compared to parties that are not democratic.”
The legislation is also meant to help parties that hold costly primaries pay for the process by giving them more funding than parties in which the leader or a small committee choses its list.
Parties in the Knesset that hold primaries are the Likud, Labor – but not the other part of the Zionist Union, the Tzipi Livni Party (Hatnua) – and Bayit Yehudi, not including the two seats for Tekuma.
Those parties will be able to get added funding according to three parameters: How many members the party has, how many MKs the party has before the election and how many remain after the election.
Parties that have a limited primary, in which only central committee members vote but have at least 1,000 central committee members, will get 20 percent of what parties with more open primaries would receive. This is likely to only apply to Meretz and Hadash, of the Joint List, as other parties that have a similar process, like Tekuma and Balad, of the Joint List, do not have big enough central committees.
“Adding funding will close the gap, and will also incentivize democracy within all parties in Israel,” the bill states.
Other parties that don’t hold primaries have a variety of ways of choosing their lists, including a small committee thought to be heavily influenced by the party’s leader (Yisrael Beytenu) or a rabbinical council (United Torah Judaism’s Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael, and Shas).