The electoral system of Israel needs to change because there have been three elections within a year, and still there is no clear winner, with the chances of the fourth election.
With more than 99 percent votes counted, Netanyahu’s right-wing holds 58 seats, three less than the required mandate for the formation of the government.
It has been a year of political deadlock, where no one has gained nothing. Yet, the public has lost a colossal amount in the form of three successive elections, two in 2019 besides this one—all with the identical results: uncertainty.
Despite being so undesirable, if uncertainty is that expensive commodity, it is mainly due to the electoral system of Israel.
With the recent results, the woes of the embattled Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in the country, continue.
After failing to form a government in the previous two elections held in 2019, Netanyahu was misled by the exit polls that suggested his near-majority.
He had almost delivered a victory speech following the predictions of the exit poll’s results, declaring a “great victory,” to thousands of supporters on election night.
But Wednesday’s results retold the tedious tale of the past two elections, suggesting nothing was in the offing.
Although Netanyahu’s Likud led the election with 36 seats, it is just three ahead of his challenger Banny Gantz’s Blue and White Party’s score of 33 seats.
However, with the alliance politics, the trademark of the proportional representation system of election, Netanyahu held a total of 58 seats. Still, he is behind the mark of 61 seats required to form the government in 120-seat Knesset.
Could there be a better time!
The elections might be critical for Netanyahu, whose trial is scheduled on March 17 as he was indicted last year on corruption charges. But the uncertainty clouding over the formation of the new government has broader implications for the country, and if there is any single factor is to be blamed most for this, it is the electoral system of Israel.
Although the less blamable factor is the irreconcilability of the stakeholders, the only possible though unlikely solution seemed to be a unity government.
However, Gantz had outrightly rejected any possibility of allying with Likud Party as long as corruption-tainted Netanyahu is at the helm. That means nothing is happening as Netanyahu is not going anywhere unless dragged into the prison if convicted for the charges leveled against him.
But meanwhile, there is a lot of time and room that needs to be filled.
The Electoral System of Israel
If negations failed again this time between the politicians, there might be an unprecedented fourth election in Israel. And maybe fifth, and the so on if the situation persists.
One possible solution to this crisis is to change the electoral system of Israel.
Currently, Israel’s political system elects the Knesset based on proportional representation.
This system is considered ideal by the experts as it gives a due share to each party. Even the smaller parties under that are eliminated under different electoral systems get a share under PR.
As a researcher on the electoral system, I’m one of the biggest critics of the first-past-the-post system that is practiced in the British political system and almost all the Commonwealth countries.
First-past-the-post is based on the simple rule in which the individual in a constituency or district-wise election wins with a simple majority. Like anyone with one vote, more than his nearest rival is declared the winner.
Although it is highly criticized, it creates stable governments. However, it is not the only alternative to the instability that Israel has been facing for last year. There are various electoral systems. The point is that no electoral system is perfect; it depends on the country’s situation and requirement.
For now, Israel’s current electoral system has been failing to form a government. Why not find a structural solution?