NAIM M. PERESS A Cry for a Constituency System Extract from an article in Issue 25, March 30, 2009 of The Jerusalem Report. To subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here. In Israel's February election, the system thwarted the will of the majority. Although Kadima, headed by Tzipi Livni, won by 28,978 votes and one Knesset seat more than Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, Netanyahu and not Livni will be Israel's next prime minister, because the right-wing parties won more seats than the center-left. This is the case despite the fact that Netanyahu did not lead a formal right-wing bloc or coalition. But because of the idiosyncratic nature of Israeli-style coalition politics, the will of the people has been eclipsed by the will of the parties. Moreover, the system of pure proportional representation (PR), in which parties win seats according to the precise percentage of the vote they poll, has led to the "Italianization" of Israeli politics. There are now no fewer than 11 political parties in the Knesset and only five of them have ten or more seats. To find a majority for his coalition, Netanyahu will have to pay a high price to splinter groups in terms of budgets and cabinet seats. Another negative result of the system is that these small factions are often not satisfied and defect to the opposition, bringing the government down. Since Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in November 1995, Israeli governments have enjoyed an average life span of less than two and a half years; Israel has had to confront the harsh reality in which it existed under six different governments and five prime ministers. It is now about to get its seventh government in just over 13 years. Naim M. Peress is a lawyer and writer living in New York. Extract from an article in Issue 25, March 30, 2009 of The Jerusalem Report. To subscribe to The Jerusalem Report click here.