Kadima ponders Danish system

In the Danish system, voters asked to rank parliamentary candidates of party on election day.

kadima 298 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
kadima 298 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Kadima council will convene for the second time next month to decide the party's policy on ideological issues, including how to change Israel's electoral system. Kadima had a task force on electoral reform during the campaign led by Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit, which recommended electing at least part of the Knesset if not all of it in regional races, but nothing came of the recommendations. An internal mini-think tank in Kadima has been examining the issue ahead of the October 22 council meeting. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Kadima ministers this week that she favored adopting the Danish election system, which she learned about firsthand from Danish officials on a recent visit to Copenhagen. In the Danish system, voters are asked to rank the parliamentary candidates of the party that they vote for on election day. Livni said that this would be a good way to minimize the power of party central committees and expensive primaries used in other parties. Livni did not say whether she wanted to adopt the allocation of parliamentary seats by regions and constituencies that are part of the complicated system in the 179-member Danish parliament, the Folketing. "No decision has been made yet in Kadima about whether a more presidential or parliamentary system should be adopted," Kadima Director-General Yohanan Plesner said. "We are examining the issue and exploring the alternatives. It is critical to handle such an important issue in a serious and responsibility way." Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu favors adopting the German electoral system recently used in the Palestinian Authority, in which half the parliamentary seats are elected by parties and half are elected regionally. "Direct regional elections will make the representatives more accountable to the voters and will require them to produce results," Netanyahu said. "This will bring quality and serious people to the Knesset and it will put on the agenda the accountability that there still isn't a word for in Hebrew." A Likud spokesman said that the issue of Israel's electoral system should not be handled lightly, and the entire country and Jews abroad must be involved in deciding the matter. "This issue is too heavy to be a matter of political spin," he said.