Survey: 53% want direct elections

President's Commission finds public is unhappy with existing party system.

ballot box 88 (photo credit: )
ballot box 88
(photo credit: )
Around 53 percent of Israelis prefer to choose their own parliamentary representatives, rather than have them selected via political party systems. This is one of the findings of a survey conducted by the Citizens' Empowerment Center in Israel, which is the guiding force behind the 70-member President's Commission that has been appointed to investigate alternatives to existing electoral, parliamentary and administrative systems. The survey also indicated that 55% are not happy with the current political leadership and that 60% think that today's politicians are a lot worse than their predecessors. The Israeli system of proportional representation has resulted in at least ten parties sitting in every Knesset to date, a factor that makes it impossible for any leading party to secure an absolute parliamentary majority. As a result, ruling parties have always had to form coalitions with smaller parties, and in so doing have had to compromise their own platforms and values. Ongoing conflicts between the coalition partners weaken the efficiency and effectiveness of governments and constantly threaten their collapse. In its almost 58 years of existence, Israel has had 31 governments and 11 prime ministers - 12 if acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to be included. Only two governments completed their full four-year terms. The CECI engaged in much of the necessary research required by the President's Commission long before the commission was established, and has put all its findings at the commission's disposal. The commission is due to convene on Monday in Tel Aviv with the participation of President Katsav and MKs Zvulun Orlev, Michael Eitan, Yossi Beilin, Moshe Gafni, Eli Yishai, Eliezer Cohen, Ophir Paz-Pines, Haim Ramon and Silvan Shalom who will each present the views of their respective parties on the current governmental systems.