Netanyahu pushes for regional elections

Bibi vows to change system so that half of MKs will be elected locally.

netanyahu 298 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
netanyahu 298 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A day after changing the election system for electing Likud MKs, Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu vowed on Thursday to change the system for electing half the MKs in the Knesset. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Netanyahu said he intended to advance legislation that would require a significant number of MKs to be elected in direct regional elections. Netanyahu said he thought half the Knesset's 120 MKs should be elected regionally - as is the case with the Palestinian parliament - or at least a third. "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." Netanyahu said he would have no problem getting the change approved in the Likud. MK Dan Naveh already suggested the idea in a Likud press conference last week. But Netanyahu said he was skeptical that the other parties would go for the idea. "It will be hard to convince the rest of the Knesset," Netanyahu said. "I don't know another party willing to give up their ideals for a larger cause. Whether the MKs will forsake their positions of privilege to allow half or even a third of the Knesset to be elected regionally remains to be seen." The Likud central committee voted on Wednesday to shift the power to elect Likud MKs from the central committee to the party membership. Netanyahu intends to paint his party as the cleanest in the Knesset following the move. "It's a tribute to the central committee members who showed they are responsible and put national interests above their own," Netanyahu said. "The Likud is now the most open and transparent party in Israel. A lot of people in Israel agree with our security and economic policies, but they held themselves back from supporting us, because they couldn't stomach a party controlled by the central committee."