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A Detailed Proposal for a Feasible Electoral Reform

This paper is a detailed proposal for the reform of Israel’s electoral system.

The changes proposed here are the result of years of research, data analysis and comparative studies. We believe that the reforms outlined in this paper would be beneficial, that they would have a realistic chance of being implemented, and that they would strike a delicate balance between conflicting agendas. The proposed reform is aimed at achieving the following overall goals:
  • To make Members of Knesset (MKs) more accountable and answerable to their voters;
  • To improve government stability.
When addressing electoral reform, equally laudable goals are often incompatible with one another. For example, reforms aimed at guaranteeing government stability may distort or even disregard the will of voters. Moreover, the purpose of electoral reform must not only look good on paper but must also be feasible to implement. Our proposal takes into account Israel’s political reality – the interests and considerations of the parties and the likelihood of their supporting these reforms. In order to achieve the above two goals and to gather the support of a majority of MKs, we recommend the following:
  • Enabling voters to select candidates on the lists submitted by parties for Knesset elections.
  • Establishing a mechanism for the formation of multi-party alliances (hereafter: “multi-party alliance/s” or “alliance/s”);
These two reforms should not be made mandatory, in order not to deter the current parties from supporting the reforms. Parties will be free to opt out. The parties will also have an incentive not to opt out, because many voters are more likely to vote for a party that enables “election-day primaries” (i.e. the selection of candidates by voters on the party list for which they vote). This paper consists of three parts and nine appendixes. Part one details the main goals of electoral reform. Part two outlines the mechanism for achieving these goals. Part three explains in more detail the means by which these reforms will achieve their goals. The appendixes provide facts, data and explanations concerning the proposed reform.
  1. Appendix 1 explains the origins of Israel’s electoral system and reviews previous reform attempts;
  2. Appendix 2 presents a sample of a voting ballot for “election-day primaries”;
  3. Appendix 3 provides a comparative analysis of voting systems around the world;
  4. Appendix 4 explains the pitfalls of regional elections;
  5. Appendix 5 explains alternative mechanisms for the formation of a new government after elections;
  6. Appendix 6 provides important insights into the alleged instability of Israeli governments;
  7. Appendix 7 explains the connection between political stability, the number of parties and the electoral system;
  8. Appendix 8 reviews and analyzes the results of legislative elections since 1949;
  9. Appendix 9 presents the results of a public opinion poll on the reforms proposed in this paper.

Author

  • ד"ר עמנואל נבון

    ד"ר עמנואל נבון הוא מרצה בבית הספר למדע המדינה, ממשל ויחסים בינלאומיים באוניברסיטת תל-אביב, ובבית הספר לממשל, דיפלומטיה ואסטרטגיה במרכז הבינתחומי הרצליה. הוא פרשן קבוע בערוץ I24News לחדשות חוץ. ד"ר נבון שימש בעבר כראש התכנית למדע המדינה ותקשורת במכללה החרדית בירושלים, כשותף מייסד של קבוצת נבון-לוי בע"מ (חברת ייעוץ לקידום פרויקטים חקלאיים ישראלים באפריקה), כמנכ"ל הרשת העסקית לשיתוף פעולה בינלאומי (עמותה להכשרת ראשי המשק הישראלי בתחום ההסברה), וכיועץ בחברת ארטיק (חברת ייעוץ המתמחה בהשגת מימון למחקר ופיתוח מן האיחוד האירופאי). נבון פרסם ספרים ומאמרים רבים בכתבי עת ובעיתונים מובילים, מתראיין באופן קבוע בכלי תקשורת בארץ ובעולם, ומרצה באוניברסיטאות ובקהילות יהודיות ברחבי העולם. הוא בוגר במנהל ציבורי מהמכון למדעי המדינה בפריס (Sciences-Po) ובעל תואר דוקטור ביחסים בינלאומיים מהאוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים.

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