Will new election law end Israel's political deadlock?

Netanyahu green-lights bill being drafted by Likud MK to give voters chance to directly elect PM if Knesset is deadlocked.

Tags: Likud
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Netanyahu and Gantz
Netanyahu and Gantz

As Israel inches towards its third general election in less than 12 months, the Likud is drafting a bill aimed at breaking the political deadlock – and preventing the possibility of a fourth election.

According to a report by Yediot Ahronot Monday, Likud MK Shlomo Karai is drafting bill which would resolve the ongoing political stalemate, giving voters the opportunity to directly elect the prime minister if no candidate is able to build a coalition government.

Under the current system, voters give their ballots to party lists, which in turn negotiate with other parties to form majority coalitions. The leader of the largest party able to cobble together a majority in the Knesset is typically the one selected to serve as premier.

With neither the left-wing nor right-wing blocs receiving an absolute majority in the 21st or 22nd Knessets, however, neither Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nor challenger Benny Gantz, who leads the Blue and White party, have been able to form a new government. The Knesset now has less than three weeks left to choose a new premier, who will require the backing of 61 MKs, or dissolve itself and go to elections yet again.

But polls show that a third election would likely result in the roughly the same outcome as the previous vote.

In a bid to break the ongoing stalemate, MK Karai (Likud) is preparing a bill which would modify Israel’s election laws, allowing voters to directly select the prime minister, if no candidate is able to form a government in the traditional way.

Leaders of the major parties would face off in a direct election, and the winner would not only receive the premiership, but also an additional 12 Knesset Members, to be allotted to members of the winner’s bloc, allowing the new premier to comfortably form a majority coalition.

The plan has received the backing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

To pass into law, however, the bill would require the support of 61 MKs in the Knesset – requiring support from either members of the left-wing bloc, or the Yisrael Beytenu party.