Monday, October 16, 2006

Lieberman Pushes Presidential System in Israel

Is the Israeli political system getting ready for an overhaul? Here are the details of legislation that is being proposed by Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party:
The legislation was proposed by Lieberman and several of his party colleagues. Its purpose, as explained in the bill itself, is "to enact a presidential system with total separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches... The ministers will not be Knesset Members, and the Knesset will thus be able to dedicate its work to legislation and parliamentary review over the government... The Knesset will be able to fire the Prime Minister by a 2/3 Knesset majority (80 MKs), but will not be able to dissolve a sitting government - thus guaranteeing governmental stability for four years."

The proposed legislation also states, however, that the Prime Minister will be able to call new Knesset elections if he sees that he does not enjoy the support of a Knesset majority.

In addition, the legislation would raise the minimum vote threshold for parties to enter the Knesset. Only parties that receive at least 10% of the popular vote will be able to be represented in the Knesset, in order to prevent the current situation in which "small parties have power above and beyond their electoral representation." In the current Knesset, only Kadima, Labor, the Likud, Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu surpassed this minimum or came close. The three Arab parties - even taken together as one bloc - as well as the Pensioners, Meretz, National Union-National Religious Party, and United Torah Judaism (Agudat Yisrael-Degel HaTorah) did not receive this minimum.

Some MKs of Yisrael Beiteinu have already indicated that 10% might be a bit high, and that they would be willing to agree to a lower minimum rate.
Unfortunately, I have not heard or seen any real discussion of the issue, i.e. the pros and cons of the Lieberman proposal. On my way to work this morning I saw billboards from the "Israeli Democracy Institute" that were against the proposal. I thought perhaps I might find an expalnation of why they are against it on their web site. So far I haven't found anything.

The present government is lousy, but I am not so sure that changing the system will make things any better. For it is not only the government that is corrupt...and anyone who has been reading this blog for the last year and a half knows what I mean!


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Having the same dreck of political leaders, but in a new framework...will not help us at all.

The breakneck speed at which they are trying to change the system is typical, and worrisome.

Cosmic X said...

Exactly. I would like to see more of a public debate on this issue.

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