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Expert: Next Knesset Likely to be 'Disunited and Dysfunctional'

The next Knesset is likely to be disunited and dysfunctional, says an expert on politics and democracy
By David Lev
First Publish: 1/21/2013, 4:19 PM

Arik Carmon
Arik Carmon
Hezki Ezra

The more things change, the more they remain the same, at least in Israeli politics, according to Dr. Arik Carmon of the Israeli Democracy Institute. Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Carmon said that after the votes are counted, there is no doubt that one of the heads of the main parties will form a government – according to almost all political experts, that is going to be Binyamin Netanyahu – but that individual is going to have to do a lot of horse-trading in order to form a government.

“What is happening in this election is unprecedented,” said Carmon. There has been no central issue for parties to coalesce around, and the “winner” is already known. But with 32 parties running, and at least half a dozen of them likely to get significant numbers of Knesset members, the 19th Knesset could be the most moribund and dysfunctional ever.

“We are expecting to see a Knesset that is disunified, without a real center of power,” Carmon said. “The largest party is likely to have only a middling number of MKs, and there will be a lot of small parties.” The possibilities for a government will be manifold, and President Peres will be inundated by requests from a number of parties to be given a chance to form a coalition. “It is going to be a very difficult for him to decide whom to appoint” to try and form a government, Carmon added.

For voters who are searching for an issue on which to center their vote, Carmon suggests choosing one of the parties that the Institute has determined handles its internal affairs in a democratic manner. “Only a number of parties – Bayit Yehudi, Likud, Kadima, Labor, Meretz, and a few others – respect the views of members and conduct themselves in a democratic manner. Others, like Yesh Atid, are relatively undemocratic,” with policy decided by one or a few individuals, instead of the party membership.

“The least democratic of the general parties is Tsipi Livni's Hatnua, which is not far on the democracy scale from Shas and the hareidi parties,” Carmon said. “When you decide for whom to vote, consider whether the party you are choosing is democratic or not.”