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Panel approves reform that would make it harder to topple gov’t

But Knesset committee blocks draft legislation to raise the threshold for a party’s election

Illustrative picture of the Knesset plenum (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative picture of the Knesset plenum (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

After a seven-hour debate, the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday approved — by a narrow margin — the Governance Bill that aims to bring in legislation that will change fundamental aspects of Israel’s democratic process.

The reform would limit the Cabinet to 19 ministers (including the prime minister), change the law that forces a government to resign if it fails to pass a national budget, and make it more difficult for opposition parties to initiate no-confidence votes that can topple a sitting government.

However, the committee approved the law for presentation to the Knesset, by a majority of seven in favor and six votes against, only after agreeing that a clause dealing with the Knesset election threshold be left out for now.

MKs Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) advanced the reform that includes two bills to be brought to the Knesset floor as a single government-sponsored bill in the coming months.

Initially, the bill also aimed to double the minimum electoral threshold from 2 percent of the total votes cast in an election to 4%, an increase that would reduce the ability of small parties to win a place in parliament and hold inordinate sway over larger coalition partners. The threshold proposal drew sharp opposition from Arab parties, which argued that it will force them to consolidate into one party to beat the limit.

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