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Lieberman: Controversial Bill Will Save Israeli Democracy

Lieberman defends the Governance Bill, ‘It will make Israel a normal democracy.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/1/2013, 9:45 AM

MK Avigdor Lieberman
MK Avigdor Lieberman
Israel news photo: Flash 90

MK Avigdor Lieberman (Likud Beyteinu) spoke out in favor of the Governance Bill after the bill was harshly criticized by Arab, left-wing and hareidi-religious MKs during a vote on Wednesday night.

“The Governance Bill is the law that will save Israeli democracy,” Lieberman declared.

The law will strengthen Israel as a “normal democracy,” he continued, “a country in which the government chosen by the people will really be able to rule on the people’s behalf.”

The bill would give the government more flexibility on the timetable for approving the national budget, and would make it slightly harder to topple the government with a no-confidence measure – both changes that the law’s supporters say will make governments less vulnerable to small parties’ demands.

The most controversial part of the bill has been the increase of the minimum vote threshold from two percent to four percent, meaning that parties receiving less than four percent of the vote would not enter Knesset. The three majority-Arab factions in Knesset all currently have under five seats, putting them at risk of being left outside Knesset if the bill passes, unless they unite.

Arab MKs claimed that the law was intended to exclude them from Knesset.

Lieberman defended the increase in the vote threshold. “The nation is sick of the Knesset being divided and split up into tiny splinters of parties, and of bloated governments that give unnecessary jobs to ministers in order to survive,” he argued.

The changes in the bill, which would limit the government to 19 ministers and four deputy-ministers including the Prime Minister, would stabilize the government and make it more efficient, he said.

The Likud Beyteinu “will keep fighting to save Israeli democracy from those who consistently scorn the Israeli Knesset, and have no interest in Israel’s future,” Lieberman declared.