It's time for an electoral reform - opinion

Not every party has primaries, and there is no such thing as regional representation.

Yamina head Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid in the Knesset Plenum during June 2, 2021 presidential elections. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Yamina head Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid in the Knesset Plenum during June 2, 2021 presidential elections.
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

There has long been talk about electoral reform, but very little has been done about it. Recent upheavals in the Knesset and the government indicate that reform is now essential if we want to have more stability in the government in the future.

Any parliament is supposed to represent the people, but if Knesset members are not all democratically elected, then they don’t all represent the people.

Not every party has primaries, and there is no such thing as regional representation.

Change is needed to ensure that every party has primaries so that Knesset members are elected by the people and are not chosen by the leader of the party.

In addition, there must be regional candidates vying for election in every party and a third of the slots should be reserved for them.

 COUNTING BALLOTS after the general elections, March 25, 2020. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) COUNTING BALLOTS after the general elections, March 25, 2020. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

This may be unfair to people who score more votes in the primaries and have to be shunted aside to make room for the regional representatives. Here, the Norwegian law can be utilized so that people who score the highest votes in the primaries, are first in line for ministerial portfolios.

Political complications

In addition, any MK who votes against the policies of his or her own party is automatically expelled, unless the issue is one on which all members of the party are given permission to vote in accordance with their conscience.

Similarly, if a legislator defects from one party to another, that person cannot remain a member of Knesset, because that person was not elected by the people who voted for the party to which the MK has defected, and the defector has betrayed the people who voted for the party which he or she is leaving.

In a coalition government, it should be agreed in advance that any member of the government, who disagrees with an issue on which a vote is being taken, should abstain rather than vote against.

The shaky ground on which the present government is standing makes it dysfunctional in certain respects and also diverts attention from various important issues while the prime minister and the alternate prime minister are trying to put out fires.

Another urgent necessity in guaranteeing the will of the people is to have a referendum on matters of major national importance.

To date, too much reliance is placed on surveys taken among 500-1000 respondents over the age of 18. We are told that they come from all sectors of society, which may be true, but we all know people who have never ever participated in such surveys, and we all know that the results of the surveys are based on how the questions are phrased. For instance, think of the difference in the survey results when the questions include: Do you think that Naftali Bennett is doing a good job? and Do you think that Benjamin Netanyahu should still be prime minister?

The latter question leads to another issue. How many consecutive terms should a person be allowed to serve as prime minister?

That one certainly requires a referendum.