Kadima wants new election system

Sheetrit discusses proposal to choose all Knesset candidates directly.

sheetrit 88 (photo credit: )
sheetrit 88
(photo credit: )
The Kadima Party is considering changing the election system so that all 120 MKs would be elected directly, regionally and personally, Education Minister Meir Sheetrit, who is composing the Kadima platform, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Sheetrit said this would be his personal recommendation when the party finalizes its platform on the issue after the March 28 election. In preliminary meetings held recently on the issue attended by Kadima's top brass, other recommendations included adopting the American presidential system and holding primaries for every party at the same time on Election Day. "There needs to be ahraiutiut," Sheetrit said, using the Hebrew word for responsibility to coin a new Hebrew word for the English word accountability, which has no direct Hebrew translation. Sheetrit ruled out Kadima adopting the election system that Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu proposed last week in an interview with the Post. Netanyahu said he intended to advance legislation that would require up to half the MKs to be elected in direct regional elections. "We don't want to learn from the Palestinians and the Germans, who elect half their MKs regionally and half in parties," Sheetrit said. "That system is unfair because parties can easily exploit it and because it gives people two votes." Kadima decided not to finalize its platform on the electoral reform issue before the election. Instead the platform will speak more generally about changing the election system to make it more stable. But meanwhile the party decided to adopt several reforms internally to make Kadima as transparent as possible and to prevent the party's elected officials from being subjected to the kind of political extortion many of them endured while they were in the Likud. Instead of having a central committee like Likud and Labor, Kadima's governing institutions will be its Knesset faction and a wider council of elected officials that will include mayors affiliated with the party. Unlike in this election, when Kadima's Knesset candidates were selected by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, from now on the entire Kadima membership will elect its MKs. Kadima mayoral candidates will be selected by Kadima members who live in that city. The party will institute a 25-month membership minimum to be able to vote or be elected in party elections, which will be waived for the people who join the party now. Some 7,300 people had joined the party as of Wednesday. To prevent the problems Labor had with its membership drive last summer, Kadima will require members to join on an individual basis. No one who was ever convicted or served jail time for committing a crime will be allowed to join Kadima, meaning that former MK Omri Sharon, the son of the party's founder, will not be welcome. The reforms are intended to improve the party's image after two weeks of reports about Olmert's and Omri Sharon's behavior that harm the party.