Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is set to propose massive reforms to Israel’s electoral system, aiming to radically reshape the country’s political structure, the Maariv website reported Sunday.
Lieberman, the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, wants to make it harder for Knesset members to topple the government through no-confidence votes, raising the threshold for such a motion to a super majority of 80 votes. Currently a simple majority of 61 votes are needed to call for a new government.
His reform would also stipulate that all cabinet ministers, except the prime minister, come from outside the Knesset.
The move would raise the threshold for a party to enter the Knesset to 2.5 percent in the next election — and 3 percent in the following elections — from the current requirement of 2 percent.
Such a move would make it harder for small, fringe groups to get elected to the Knesset. The overall effect would be a more stable Knesset, albeit with less power and less representation.
Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that Israel is desperate for electoral reform because the current threshold of 2 percent is relatively low. And, he added, it makes parties “vulnerable to the demands of fringe groups,” which can lead to policy stalemate — or create a situation in which a majority is “beholden to much smaller political movements,” he wrote on the CFR website.
If Lieberman’s motion passes, a constitution and constitutional authority would be established — thus preventing the courts from dealing with administrative issues related to the state.
It would also limit the number of confidence motions the opposition can bring during a session, something that will add to stability, said Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, according to Maariv. He added it would enable the government to carry out long-term policy objectives.